PayPal offers price matching, free return shipping for the holidays

How good is this? PayPal offering price matching to customers who pay with PayPal

Gigaom

PayPal (s ebay) is getting even more aggressive in courting consumers with the rollout of new holiday promotions for cost-conscious shoppers. Now, consumers can get price-matching, free return shipping and six-month financing on purchases online or in-store through the end of the year.

When a purchased product is advertised for less by any merchant within 30 days, consumers who pay with PayPal can get reimbursed the difference. They need to fill out a request and submit a copy of their receipt and the advertisement to get reimburse. Users can get up to $1,000 in total price matching through Dec. 31  and up to $250 on any one item. This applies to airline tickets that go on sale within seven days.

PayPal is also offering free return shipping on products. Consumers who file a claim will get a pre-paid shipping label within five days or they’ll get a refund in their…

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The shopper genome project

Absolutely agree. In a world where smart devices are growing like crazy and (finally!) offer the promise of the right offer to the right customer at the right time, you had better be able to follow consumers as they channel hop and to deliver permission-based, highly relevant and personalized communications.

Steve Dennis

No doubt you’ve heard of The Human Genome Project–the effort to decode our species by identifying and mapping all of our genes. Ultimately it’s an effort to better understand what makes us tick, from both a functional and physical standpoint.

As a business or brand leader you have a similar challenge when it comes to decoding your current and potential consumers’ attitudes, needs and behaviors.

In a world of vast and growing choices, the pressure is only increasing to develop deep, actionable insight into your customer base.

In a world where most segments are growing slowly, your only chance for out-sized growth is to gain market share. And that requires understanding which levers to pull that are compelling enough to win new clients or grow share of wallet with existing ones.

In a world where most competitors are either engaged in a race to the bottom or stuck in tired…

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Grocers’ digital dreams: Sainsbury’s launching VOD, Tesco ending MP3

Interesting how leading UK Supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury’s are leveraging their online traffic to get into Video On Demand and go head to head with Netflix and the like.

Gigaom

The UK’s number-three supermarket is preparing to turn itself in to an online movie and TV rental service, as it vies with with leader Tesco on digital devices, just as they have in the aisles.

Sainsbury’s is contracting video tech firm Rovi to power video on demand and for download in a service due to launch later this year under its new Sainsbury’s Entertainment brand.

Rovi promised paidContent “a transactional-based model that supports the sale and rental of premium titles versus a subscription-based service”. The service will launch initially on web and Sainsbury’s says it wants to take it later to internet TVs, Blu-ray disc players, smartphones and game consoles.

Sainsbury’s movie and TV offering will go head-to-head with Blinkbox, which Tesco acquired a majority of last year. Expect to see each supermarket competing with Netflix, Amazon’s Lovefilm, BSkyB and other dedicated VOD brands on internet TVs next year.

Like Blinkbox, Sainsbury’s…

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Apple’s expanding retail store staffing levels

On the 26th June, an interesting article appeared in the online publication Technology Spectator by Horace Dediu from the Helsinki based company Asymco.  It was about “Expanding Apple’s Retail Army“, specifically about Apple’s retail store staffing practices.  The full article is available by clicking here

The basic premise from the article is that Apple has in the last 5 years tripled the number of employees per retail store from 37 in Q1 2007 to 117 in Q1 2012 and yet still retains extremely high per employee profitability and sales.  See the graph below:

Apple has also set the benchmark for retail in terms of sales and profit per square foot (more than double 2nd placed Tiffany’s) as well as sales and profit per employee.  Last year in Apple’s 327 stores globally each Apple retail store employee brought in $473,000.

The products are desirable and the staff are astonishingly good at selling them (even though they are not on commission).  There have been some rumblings about staff wage levels and staff retention in the US, however there is always a plentiful supply of bright young people lining up to apply for jobs at Apple stores – they can still take their pick of the best.  Why is this?

I think it has a lot to do with the strong Apple brand and the consistency of the customer experience with Apple products;  whether that is online, in store or when they get home an unbox the latest iPhone or iPad.  A consistently great experiences.

Store staff are well trained and empowered to solve customer problems straight away, they have access to all the information they need on their iPod Touch or iPad and their store retail application is well integrated with their website including their Genius Bar booking system.  Apple are even taking this a step further with their Apple Store iPhone app where customers can go into a store and buy a (admittedly a lower price point) product and pay for it with their iTunes account using their iPhone and walk out – without the need to even interact with any Apple Store staff.

Recently Apple’s new head of Retail John Browett, who took the reins in April, was looking at tinkering (read reducing) with Apple’s store staffing levels, using new schedules and staffing formulas.  However this was quickly hit on the head (most likely by CEO Tim Cook), with Browett coming out and saying that “We messed up”.

With all the doom and gloom about retail and retail store staff employment prospects – Apple is showing the way by increasing store staffing levels.  In difficult retail conditions Apple is still setting a stellar example for retailers to follow:

  • It’s all about the brand and a consistently good customer experience
  • Stores are well staffed by well trained, engaged and motivated employees
  • Store staff are empowered to solve the customers problem there and then
  • Store staff have the mobile tools and information they need  on the floor
  • Online and in-store systems are consistent and well integrated
  • Customers are given all the information they need in store on their iPhone or iPad