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Sandy Smith
NRF Stores|stores.org
Customer service, product knowledge are key to capturing sales in stores

ShowroomingWelcome to the latest conflict between online retailers and bricks-and-mortar stores. While there may be numerous reasons why consumers visit physical locations to touch, feel or see products but then purchase online, analysts say at least some of the showrooming battles aren’t lost until the customer steps onto the sales floor.

“It’s the consequence of the starvation of customer service,” says Shane Ginsberg, senior vice president of corporate development at digital agency Organic. “For many years, stores — particularly big-box stores read more »

How do shoppers want to engage with retailers?

If retailers are confused by mobile’s many options, add another conundrum: go with mobile-optimized websites designed to display correctly on mobile devices — or “apps” that must be downloaded onto devices?

According to mobile analytics provider CEM4Mobile Solutions, more people use mobile web, but engagement among app users is about 2.5 times higher. Respondents in a March 2012 Nielsen study said they prefer shopping on mobile websites; meanwhile, apps cost significantly more to develop and must be configured for various operating systems.

“Mobile web is the low-hanging fruit,” says Stefan Schmidt, vice president of product strategy for hybris, a multi-channel e-commerce software provider. “A mobile-optimized website is like the everyday car, while the mobile app is more like a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley. It gives you something you can’t get anywhere else.” read more »


Google Product ListingsGoogle’s free product listings disappear in October — but with months to plan, it should come as no surprise. In fact, for those who follow the industry, even the initial announcement was not a shock.

“When we talk to clients about this, we often hear … ‘We knew this was coming,’” says Eric Best, CEO and chairman of online retailing and performance marketing firm Mercent. “Amazon certainly doesn’t deliver customer orders and revenues to third-party retailers for free. eBay doesn’t. Google has really stood alone in terms of their willingness to let the traffic flow through the platform.”

Google has been tweaking the experiment practically since it was announced. But come October, retailers will have to bid on how much they’re willing to pay for listings to appear and result in clicks (cost-per-click) or sales (cost-per-acquisition). read more »

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