Flooring The Consumer on Simple Marketing Now

Please visit Flooring The Consumer's new home on SimpleMarketingNow.com where you can subscribe to receive updates to blog articles in real time!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog Birthday #5!

Number 5 is Alive!
Yes, it's true. Today is Flooring The Consumer's 5th Blog Birthday.

A lot has changed since I first launched this blog in June 2006 - not least of which is becoming my own boss! Thank you for being along for the ride.

As I start year #6, I'd love to hear from you.

What feedback do you have for me?

What do you like most about this blog?

Which stories have you found most interesting?

What's missing?

I love observing the retail experience -- especially since we are starting to see a lot more experimentation taking place. Retail is where buyer and product come together. It's where theory becomes practice. Furthermore, in Paco Underhill's words, Retail is the Dipstick of Social Change!

Here's another question for you.

If you feel as passionately as I do about the retail experience changes around us, would you be willing to share your observations here as a guest contributor?

I welcome more perspectives on this fascinating topic.

Again, thanks for celebrating with me.


Image Credit: Number 5 is Alive originally uploaded by Wagsome Dog.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 6/24/11

Wordle: #retailexpAre you ready for the 6/24/11 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

  • Love content which says successful companies will adopt biz mode where business, customer & community win: http://ow.ly/5nmMo #retailexp
  • TB successful, you need to become 'customer-obsessed'. Perspective fr @jbernoff http://ow.ly/5li5F #retailexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Reinvent yourself as innovator in service. Thought-leader interview w Henry Chesbrough: http://ow.ly/5l4H4 #retailexp
  • Retailers, pay attn to these 3 creative marketing approaches fr Martin Lindstrom http://ow.ly/5l5cH #retailexp
  • Remember Restoration Hardware? It's been reinvented. Fascinating #retailexp story: http://ow.ly/5l5jx
  • Midyear trends from Euro RSCG: note hyper-local and brutal honesty http://ow.ly/5l4Gd #retailexp

Integrating Online with Offline

  • The Greatness of QR codes - perspective from an architect applicable to #retailexp http://ow.ly/5l50d
  • How top luxury brands on Facebook ranked and created engagement http://ow.ly/5l5l3 #retailexp
  • Amazon's new MYHABIT shopping site has "live" models who show off the clothing on the site. Cool twist on the #retailexp!!! [From Emily at @FCNews]

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, June 20, 2011

Simple Marketing Now Update - May 2011

Simplify Your Marketing!


I'm just back from the MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston which explains why I'm so late getting out to you this  May 2011 update from Simple Marketing Now 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 for May 2011

My biggest news from May had to do with the presentation that I gave last week at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2011 in Boston.  Here is the release: Generate More Leads With Social Media: MarketingProfs B2B Forum Presentation Offers Advice. [Thank you to those of you who helped me out with Survey: How Do You Generate Leads? Need Your Help!]

I also on 5/10/11 shared with the NJ American Marketing Association my Presentation from March on Managing Your Reputation in a Social World.  What a terrific audience! I'm looking forward to attending more NJ AMA meetings.

Social Media Marketing Resources:

I have many social media marketing resources to share with you. Dave Foster and I continued our social media marketing series with a focus on Google For Search & Discovery: TalkFloor Social Media Marketing Series.

I recapped the fascinating panel discussion I took part in in April in Social, Mobile, Legal: NY Law School 2011 Conference.

Here is a summary of my NJ AMA presentation: Recapping NJ AMA 5/10/11 Presentation: Managing Your Social Reputation.

I recaptured Right Brain/Left Brain in Business: a CBSAC/NY Event [where I reconnected with CBS classmates!] and commented on the significance of the Social Flooring Index update in Online Conversations Evolve on Floor Covering Institute.

I share inspiration here in Blogging and Community: Worth Embracing! and offer a how-to guide in How To Manage Your Online Reputation.

Finally, here are the latest links to articles and news about practical marketing on Twitter, coded #PracticalMktr:

As always, Thank You for reading. I also welcome your feedback. What do you find most helpful in these resources?

Have a wonderful June [and almost July 4th Holiday!].


Friday, June 17, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 6/17/11

Wordle: #retailexpLots of references to mobile and the retail experience in the 6/17/11 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

  • Don't ever forget to include humanity for call center #retailexp - examples fr @Zappos http://ow.ly/5euo2

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Examples of retailers using "apps with catalog feel" on tablets & changing #retailexp http://ow.ly/5iWHr 
  • How might you apply these 'social commerce' opportunities to your #retailexp? http://ow.ly/5fHgJ

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Pay attn! Mobile is evolving, maturing, more important component of #retailexp http://ow.ly/5eupQ
  • Have U seen this Google video re: consumer smartphone usage trends? http://ow.ly/5fHjN Lots #retailexp implications via @retexperience
  • Data on how shoppers use social media to interact with retailers http://ow.ly/5iWDQ #retailexp Note mobile!
  • Here's perspective on how luxury retailers R selling online & building trust http://ow.ly/5jR6T #retailexp

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

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

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

Monday, June 13, 2011

Be Social In-Store and Online

Be Social In-Store and Online by Christine B. Whittemore
This article titled "Be social in-store and online" appeared in the August 23/30, 2010 issue of Floor Covering Weekly.

Being Social In-Store and Online

By Christine B. Whittemore

Would you agree that retail, by its very nature, is a social business?

After all it is about people – customers or buyers – coming into contact with other people – sellers – to acquire something. The two groups interact, asking questions, expressing interest, learning from one another and exchanging value. The interaction is what leads to a purchase decision -- when done correctly. It also determines whether the transaction warrants future retail interactions. Social interaction leads to building trust and a profitable retail relationship.

What goes into making a social interaction successful in-store and online?

There’s the store itself and how neat, appealing, up-to-date, organized and thoughtful an impression it communicates to a visitor. The physical environment creates a backdrop or frame of reference for customer-focused social interaction. It sets expectations and tells a story. Ideally, it even introduces employees – as LuluLemon Athletica does via a wall of employee pictures which includes each’s 5 and 10 year life goals.

The first social contact with your visitor further sets expectations not only about how welcoming you are, but also your knowledge, how much you care about your business and how willing you are to interact with customers. Being social means acting more like a consultant and customer advocate than a salesperson or order taker. It requires being truly hospitable and customer-focused. Imagine being a visitor to your store. How well do store representatives welcome you, show respect, listen, and methodically capture and absorb information? Do they follow-up and take care of the details associated with customer interactions? What about the ultimate social tool – the telephone – how do they use it?

All of these social courtesies set the stage for a relationship of multiple transactions with customers. They build trust and remove barriers associated with potential problems.

That’s in-store.

Managing an online presence is no different. There, too, you set expectations, express common social courtesies and generally anticipate the needs of customers. You do so through relevant and engaging content. Content is what communicates personality, uniqueness, competence... It takes multiple forms: words on a website, video, podcasts, interaction on social networks, slide presentations, photos… Just as your store and the people within, your online content demonstrates to visitors and potential customers that you are knowledgeable, real, accessible, welcoming and trustworthy.

Consider your website from your visitor’s perspective. How up-to-date is your content? How genuinely welcoming is your home page? Do you include information about you, your associates and company history as well as pictures of you and your people? Can visitors easily find your contact information, store hours and directions? Have you set expectations so site visitors know how quickly you will return an email or phone call? Do you detail how you handle issues? What about fresh ideas and inspiration for visitors? Look at what Carpetright in the UK has done with its web-based design tips and trend boards.

What about social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? What do they communicate about your business? Is that content consistent with your in-store message? Are you social there, too? Do you interact and respond promptly, consistently and enthusiastically?

Whether in-store on online, consider the following social guidelines:

• Be welcoming & hospitable in-store and online

• Be fresh, new and interesting: update samples, windows, website, status…

• Be interested and interact: actively listen, ask questions, acknowledge, say thanks

• Be easy to contact: ask how best to stay in contact with visitors

• Be thoughtful: it’s about your customers and visitors, not you. Focus on how you can help them in-store and online.

• Be reliable and follow up on details: i.e., be trustworthy and dependable

• Be authentic & true to yourself: you are in business for the long haul, right?

• Be passionate about what you do: stand for something and be excited about it

• Be consistent: show up regularly and participate in the social interactions

• Be transparent: don’t lie, cheat, obfuscate or make things like price needlessly fuzzy; rid yourself of insider gobbledygook terms

Go, be social!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 6/10/11

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 6/10/11 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

  • Approach to Hispanic consumers needs revision. How will this affect your #retailexp? http://ow.ly/5aDBV

The Economy & Consumers

  • The latest on the lipstick theory, sports illustrated cover and skirt lengths: http://ow.ly/5dBHG And in your market? #retailexp
  • Fr Wharton: when will happy economy days be back? Not jolly & sure to affect #retailexp http://ow.ly/5dC5B
  • @CBWhittemore counter point on the economy post Fr Wharton. 5 Reasons to Be Optimistic http://ht.ly/5e1pL #retailexp vs http://ht.ly/5e1sG - via Bill Buyok

Retail Experience Ideas

  • I love how window displays create #retailexp interest. Lovely stories here: http://ow.ly/55Y5S
  • Grant McCracken on Lady Gaga "Paws Up, Little Monsters" Refreshing 2 C exuberant individuality. It will affect #retailexp http://ow.ly/5dBTq

Integrating Online with Offline

  • How Home Depot is integrating social media with social sales rep. Brilliant! http://ow.ly/55ZfK #retailexp #practicalmktr
  • The New Rules of Building Customer Loyalty: true principles + social-inspired ideas http://ow.ly/56034 #retailexp
  • Enjoyed 'more than virtual: marketing total brand experience' online/offline http://ow.ly/5dCeA #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

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

UnitedInsight's David Champion On Online Consumer Behavior

Imagine being so fascinated by consumer behavior and psychology that you start a company focused on bridging between online consumer behavior academic research and practical business application. That's what David Champion did when he founded UnitedInsight.

David connected with me via LinkedIn. Given my interest in the consumer retail experience and simplifying the choosing experience, I was intrigued.

I was also delighted when David agreed to participate in this blog interview and provide insights [!] on UnitedInsight, online consumer behavior and his next half-day conference event on June 30th in NYC titled "Contagious Marketing: The Science of Word-of-Mouth in the Age of Social Media”.

C.B.: David, tell me about your background.

I was lucky enough to live all around the world when I was growing up, which offers an interesting perspective on how people act. I started in the jungle in Papua New Guinea and ended up in a very different kind of jungle in New York, working as an architect with Daniel Libeskind on the Ground Zero project.

Along the way, for example, I would spend half the year running my educational charity in Kenya, and the other half at university in Cambridge - two cultures that couldn’t be farther apart... and yet exactly the same social interactions were taking place around me. That really peaked my interest in social psychology and the question: can you boil down complex human behaviors into a system that can be predicted, and used to make better decisions in business.

C.B.: How did you come up with the idea of United Insight?

The architectural work in New York was fascinating, but I was always more interested by the way people inside a building are behaving, than the way the building looks. I noticed a parallel between the psychology research behind this, and what marketers want to know about how their consumers think and act (and buy). There is so much noise in the marketing world - from guru schemes to quick-fix tactics - that it’s difficult for marketers to access this really useful research, let alone to use it. I left architecture, drew every penny from my savings account and started UnitedInsight...

C.B.: What exactly is UnitedInsight?

UnitedInsight is the central resource for insights into Online Consumer Behavior.

We started hosting UnitedInsight Conferences to give marketers access to the latest scientific research into consumer decision making, in a way that’s easy to digest and implement. Social media and digital marketing are just a means to reach consumers, but marketers still need to know what drives their decisions.

What engages people online? What makes them buy? What aspects of a brand are they most likely to spread to their networks... and why?

These are the types of questions only scientists take the time to step back and answer in a way that is permanently useful. So we host conferences to present this research alongside industry expertise, and make sure our audiences walk away with new ideas they can implement immediately.

C.B.: What kinds of programs and resources do you offer?

Our conferences have a pretty cool format. We admire TED very much, but wanted to incorporate a reason for debate - you know... to stir up the mix a little! So our speakers are each leaders in their field, but often have quite different view-points, which means we really are giving the audience access to a 360° perspective of the industry, as well as the tools to make their own decisions with this information. The best part is that we take pretty complex concepts, and make them simple enough that you or I could start using them with tangible results very quickly.

Our website aggregates the best online news in Consumer Insight [e.g., see UnitedInsight articles]. We’ve been described as a mixture of TED, HBR and WOMMA, which is a nice compliment given those are three of our role-models!

C.B.: What do you find most intriguing about the [online] decision making process?

That’s a great question, and there are a thousand different aspects of that to consider... cool facts like: if you have a baby’s face on your web page people will look at that more than anything else, but if you have a picture of a baby staring at the button next to it, people will look to the button and click it!

On the other side of the spectrum I think one of my favorite examples is the algorithm developed by Johan Bollen’s team at Indiana University, which monitors Tweets across America and categorizes them into the ‘mood states’: “Calm, Alert, Sure, Vital, Kind, and Happy”. Amazingly, this algorithm could predict daily up and down changes in the closing values of the Dow Jones Industrial Average with up to 87.6% accuracy! You can only imagine how useful this type of software could be to marketers.

C.B.: What has been your biggest surprise since launching United Insight?

Inertia. People just don’t want to change what they’re doing - even when it clearly isn’t working.

C.B.: When is your next event and what should participants expect?

June 30th is our next half-day conference in NYC. The topic is “Contagious Marketing: The Science of Word-of-Mouth in the Age of Social Media”.

The purpose for this topic is very simple: Some online brands and content go ‘viral’, reach lots of people and lead to a lot of sales... and others don’t. Experts have evidence for what makes the distinction between these two and, as a marketer, you would probably want to get your hands on that information before your competitor does! This conference is designed around that piece of insight.

We have a great line-up for this one, including John Andrews (Former head of Emerging Media at Walmart), Dave Kerpen (Co-founder and CEO of Likeable Media, and 3-time WOMMY award winner), Ruben Quinones (Top Marketing Professor as voted by Social Media Magazine), Ted Rubin (Top Ranked CMO on Twitter), and Jonah Berger (Social Epidemic Professor at UPenn Wharton)

I would recommend this particular event to digital marketers who have discovered the limits of most SMM techniques, and who have power to implement new strategies for their companies or clients.

C.B.:  David, Any parting advice?

You have two options:

1) Drink the Kool-Aid

2) Buy the ingredients and make your own drink!

C.B.: I definitely prefer making my own drink!  Thanks, David, and all the best for a very successful event.

Comments? Reactions? How might you make use of UnitedInsight's consumer behavior resources?

Note: If you are interested in attending the June 30th half-day conference in NYC on "Contagious Marketing: The Science of Word-of-Mouth in the Age of Social Media”, you can register by clicking on this link which takes you to the EventBrite page. Be sure to use code UI-SIMPLE-10 which offers you 10% off registration.

Note: early bird price is valid until June 9th, midnight.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 6/3/11

Wordle: #retailexpHappy almost weekend!  Here is the 6/3/11 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

  • 2 extreme #retailexp perspectives on choice: REI fr @deniseleeyohn http://ow.ly/56BSX and Trader joe's http://ow.ly/56BSV fr me
  • The Holy Grail: FB Like is easy. Loyalty takes work. http://ow.ly/55X3g How R U creating engagement? #practicalmktr #retailexp
  • Imagine! using customer feedback to improve your business http://ow.ly/55XCS #retailexp
  • How will credit card reform affect your #retailexp? Here's what to expect for customers: http://ow.ly/55UKb

Retail Experience Ideas

  • How's this for making a statement about green? SC retailer creates conversation & destination #retailexp http://ow.ly/55XXY
  • Lowe's, Home Depot thinking smaller projects, more local. How will that affect #retailexp? yours & theirs http://ow.ly/55VZL
  • Fascinating view on eBay's local shopping strategy. #retailexp change is afoot! http://ow.ly/55UZv 
  • Overview on how department stores have repositioned their #retailexp http://ow.ly/55V5O

Integrating Online with Offline

  • How retailers and customers use tablet devices http://ow.ly/55VcA #retailexp
  • Technology truly is making #retailexp more interesting! check out future of shopping: http://ow.ly/55W9F
  • I hope you're paying attention to mobile and smartphone usage in your #retailexp. It's changing! http://ow.ly/545gs

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

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this article, perhaps you would consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer via email or
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...