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Will Warranty Enforcement Be Amazon Marketplace's Achilles' Heel?

When it comes to competing against Amazon, eBay or even Japan's Rakuten, one of the more challenging aspects is their third-party marketplaces, which give each a seemingly endless inventory at minimal risk. But the odds may be getting more even, as shoppers are starting to notice that some manufacturers are strictly enforcing their authorized reseller rules.

The immediate impact on shoppers is they may find that the expensive flat-screen TV, surround-sound speakers or refrigerator that looked like such a bargain on Amazon voids the warranty. The arguably-unrealistic expectation from consumer goods manufacturers—which sharply strengthens the hands of traditional e-tailers trying to fight against these third-party marketplaces—is that shoppers would not only notice the actual name of the merchant shipping the item, but would take the time to run that name on the manufacturer's site to see if they are truly an authorized reseller. Or they could just make the purchase from Target.com or Bestbuy.com and know for certain.

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Self-Service Need Not Be Self-Delusional

August 6th, 2004

Retail self-checkout is a great way to use the technology, but retailers are giving false reasons for why they support it. When you're a retail executive in today's razor-thin-margin environment, you do what you can barely afford and then pray it supports your strategy. Pricing is no longer something most retailers can determine, as a strict competitor reality often dictates whether your per-item profit is one or two cents. Read more...


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Self-Checkout Security a Balancing Act

August 5th, 2004

Putting control of checkout into the hands of the consumer is nightmarishly frightening for many retail executives—including that part where the consumers figure out how much money they are going to give the retailer. "Loss Prevention would love to have security gates and frisking" at the self-service terminals, said Dusty Lutz, the FastLane product manager for NCR Corp., who added that such requests are clearly not practical. "How much do you put into a system for security?" Read more...


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Intelligent Cart Brings ‘Jetsons’-Style Shopping

August 5th, 2004

Envision opening a refrigerator, making a tuna-fish sandwich and using the last of the mayonnaise. You scan the empty jar on the freezer door for two seconds and then recycle the sticky jar.

Three days later, you walk into your local grocery store and grab a cart, which displays a list of everything you need. Some of the items came from a list you e-mailed to your store, others are things the cart thinks you're probably out of (you haven't purchased milk in two weeks and your last portion had an expiration date of eight days ago), and some are things that your refrigerator told your shopping cart about. Read more...


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How Intimate a CRM Relationship Do Your Customers Really Want?

July 20th, 2004

To persuade customers to give up data, some retailers are considering using blind-taste-test third parties. At the very heart of any robust retail CRM system are the benefits consumers—and retailers—receive when the retailer knows as much about a customer as possible. But what happens when the customer doesn't want such an intimate relationship? Read more...


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Retail CRM: Does Data Create A Duty?

July 12th, 2004

Pity the poor retail CIO who is a CRM advocate. In acts of backstabbing betrayals worthy of the ancient Roman coliseum, our hero finds himself having to deal with a host of villains: Overzealous software sales reps, who conveniently forget to mention the money and person-hours the retailer will have to spend to make the CRM deliver. Installing—and, from the rep's perspective, paying for—the package is only one-fiftieth of the battle. Read more...


Next-Gen Kiosks Could Guide You Through Holiday List

January 3rd, 2004

Shoppers in the 2004 holiday season were going to face a blizzard of next-generation kiosks, about three times as many of the devices as they saw in 2003, said a report from analyst firm Frost & Sullivan.

The report cames as retailers learned that it's better to give than to receive, especially when CRM (customer relationship management) and self-service are involved.Read more...


Drowning in Facts, Thirsting for Answers

February 1st, 2003

To companies trying to understand and predict customer behavior, the Web promised the kind of information of which marketing dreams are made. The Web can electronically track every customer's action and make some very good guesses about their thoughts. For instance, are buyers just looking at products that are blue and green? How many seconds did they spend looking at a particular product? Read more...


Analyzing Analytics at Campbell’s Soup

February 1st, 2003

The good news for the director of manufacturing at Campbell Soup Company is that he had discovered the potential ROI of an integrated business analytics program. The bad news is that it took a multi-million-dollar loss to make the case. The story was published in Consumer Goods Technology magazine. To read the full story, please click here.


Payment Technology Strategies

February 1st, 2003
Penned a piece for the Retail Executive Digest supplement to Retail Information Systems (RIS) News about how retailers are looking very differently at cash, credit card and check transactions.Read more...

The Legacy of Legacy Systems Strategies

October 1st, 2002
The head of IS supply chain issues for $5.5 billion VF Corp. likes her issues neat and clean. But such is not the lot for anyone struggling through a legacy systems strategy. Published in Consumer Goods Technology magazine.Read more...

Meet America’s Most Senior CIO

October 1st, 2002

Through decades of non-traditional decisions, Burlington Coat Factory CIO Mike Prince has defied the experts, both in terms of technology strategy and how long a CIO can hold that post with a multi-billion-dollar retail chain. Meet America’s most senior CIO. Published in Retail Information Systems (RIS) News. To read the full story, please click here.


Unconventional Wisdom: Unlimited Thinking At Limited Brands

October 1st, 2002

The CIO of Limited Brands–which includes Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Express, Lerner New York, The Limited, Henri Bendel, The White Barn, Candle Co., and Aura Science–has heard a lot of conventional wisdom about datawarehouse strategy. Sometimes, the unconventional wisdom is best. As published in Retail Information Systems (RIS) News. To read the full story, please click here.


An Offer A CFO Can’t Refuse

September 1st, 2002

The CFO at Eddie Bauer’s knew an irrestible offer when he heard one. The IT executive who was trying to justify a major CRM expenditure offered to slash the marketing budget to cover the full cost of the CRM package. Published in Retail Information Systems (RIS) News. To read the full story, please click here.


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