Archive for the ‘ecommerce’ Category

Swhipy screen shot  (By J. Barrineau)

Swhipy screen shot
(By J. Barrineau)

After several frustrating months of not being able to manage my iPhone’s playlists on the go, I have found a $2 solution that allows me to create playlists from playlists: Swhipy by JYPApps. It’s an understated app that’s worth every damn cent and then some, and it’s as close to being what I would consider a New Year miracle.

My joyful purchase was all part of an effort to manage my large music library — MUSIC THAT I HAVE PAID FOR — following my switch to an iPhone 5S (64GB) with iOS 7. When I discovered the loss of functionality in the iOS 7 Music app, I turned to the Apple discussion forums, where other dismayed music enthusiasts were also registering their puzzlement and complaints. Based on several users’ recommendations, I also downloaded Ecoute ($2.99) and Lagu (free). These are interesting alternatives to the abomination that is the Music app, but they didn’t do what I needed them to do, which is build playlists from other playlists on the go. (Side note: Ecoute is the app for you if you’re suffering through the Music app’s disastrous sorting issues. Meanwhile, Lagu is interesting because of its “queue” feature, but there’s something missing. If you try to save a playlist, you’re prompted to type a title for the playlist, but the keyboard doesn’t appear. Oh well, it’s free.)

It’s no secret that Apple shit the bed with the release of iOS 7 – I will NOT call it an “upgrade” — but the changes to the Music app were particularly painful for music lovers. (Editor’s note: I have understated this on purpose because it’s not as though we’ve been fed alive to starving dogs or anything.) I realize this is a “first world problem” of the first degree. It’s also a pocketbook issue: Consumers who have paid for their music should have the right to manage their music on their terms.  And this isn’t a learning curve, as some bloggers would suggest. No, I’m talking about a loss of functionality and flaccid user experience that underscore Apple’s blatant disregard for its loyal customers who built the megadynasty that is iTunes. I mean, really: Would we have bought so much music if they hadn’t made it so easy to enjoy?

Why Apple would remove so much functionality from its native app is baffling. And yeah, I’ve read about the efforts for a “more simplistic” design — and that’s just bullshit. It’s one thing to simplify an icon; it’s another to simplify an application to the point of frustrating the user with radical limitations. There’s nothing simple about plumbing the depths of a gazillion-song library to find JUST ONE SONG. And, finally, if this sick-making overhaul is part of some coked-up marketing scheme to drive me to iTunes Radio, then that’s just evil.

Facebook has been the hugest time suck I’ve ever experienced. I haven’t even watched TV in months, I feel like I never have time to do the things I should be doing, and I get antsy if I can’t check it at least a few times a day.
~ Anonymous friend

Have you seen enough cat pictures? Tired of all the privacy leaks? Or do you just want to recoup the time that you lose captivated by people you don’t really even like?

You want to take a Facebook break, but you’re not sure how. A report published Feb. 5 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows 61% of Facebook users have taken a break from using the social networking site at some point. If so many people can take a Facebook break, then why not you?

But leaving Facebook?  Yes, it sounds insane. To hear some folks considering it, the idea of leaving Facebook is akin to leaving Earth. If you can’t bring yourself to deactivate your account right away, you can ease yourself into a Facebook break by limiting your interaction with the site.

A great starting point is the notifications. Do you really want to know when a friend-of-a-friend’s Aunt Lulu comments on a puppy photo you commented on in 2010? You don’t need a text message or email about that. If you look through the notifications, you’ll see that you can live without a lot of them.

FACEBOOKOBLIGATION

Of course, you’ll want to be notified about friend requests, but more important: you want to be notified when you’ve been tagged in a photo or a post. You don’t want the idiot friend who doesn’t follow the What-Stays-In-Vegas Rule to tag you in the pics of the fur bikini mechanical bull riding contest that you won in 2006.

If you want to further limit your Facebook interactions, delete the app from your phone. You’ll be amazed at how freeing this is. No badges, no buzzes. You’ll find your phone is plenty entertaining without it.

After you have limited the notifications and deleted the app, you’ll probably feel like something’s missing — like you’re not wearing pants. That will pass. You’ll soon find a sense of calm and quiet. At this point, you might find deactivating your account isn’t so hard. Try just one week.  At the end of that week, see how you feel. You may be surprised to find you feel relieved.

Why would I feel relieved?

Because you wouldn’t constantly be responding to a website.

Let’s face it: Social media carries an obligation. If we’re logged on, we are required to respond. It’s like if you’re at a party, you’re required to interact. Facebook is a 24/7/365 party. And sometimes you need to leave the party.

That’s not to say that you can never go back. But when you do, you’ll probably have a different perspective about what you share and with whom you’re sharing. This is healthy. We need to revisit how we interact on social media from time to time so that the sites — Facebook, Twitter, Google+ — don’t completely legislate what we share, how we share it and with whom we share. Taking a break from Facebook (or any social media) allows us to step back from the maddening crowd and think for ourselves — without the coercion of an unapologetic algorithm or the noise of a 24/7/365 party.

 

EARLIER: How Lady Gaga helped me get off Facebook

 

INTERNET_2012

 
Say it ain’t so, Instagram.

New Statesman reports that Instagram‘s new terms of service asserts the right to sell your photos to advertisers. Even so, I doubt this will keep many people, including myself, from using this surprisingly addictive app and social networking site.

I’m not sure we’ll be returning to flickr anytime soon. Or will we?

Also covering today’s collective Web freak-out is The Wall Street Journal, taking care to zero-in on the clause that’s got so many shutterbugs in a twitter.
 
 
Copyright 2012 © Jacqui Barrineau. All rights reserved.

Happy Thanksgiving, peasants, from Williams-SonomaThe Wall Street Journal‘s Corporate Intelligence blog has a post on Williams-Sonoma‘s flourishing eCommerce business, which has some surprising numbers.

From the article by Joan Solsman:

Over the years, Williams-Sonoma parlayed its catalog background to incubate one of the most thriving marriages of online and in-store selling in retail. E-commerce was 37% of net revenue last year in the fourth quarter.

Wow.

Thirty-seven percent of net revenue is nothing to sneeze at. But I still think of Williams-Sonoma as a catalog company with products that I can’t afford. Maybe this perception has something to do with the catalog’s pretentious copy.

EARLIER: Order up, peasants

 

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UPDATE 12-09-2012: A visit to a Fairfax, Va., Target yesterday shows Weinswig may be correct about Target’s poor in-store execution. I went into the store with the Target-Neiman collection in mind but not as part of my primary objective. (“Get kitty litter!) Even so, I saw only a single stand-alone piece of in-store signage related to the collection. My visit was lengthy and covered much of the store’s perimeter, but I never encountered the collection. Even worse: I didn’t see any signage that would have directed me to the collection.

BEGIN ORIGINAL POST: Target-Neiman The Wall Street Journal reports the Target-Neiman Marcus holiday tie-in (#Holiday24) is a disappointment, citing slower sales despite high-powered prime-time advertising and the muscle of social media. (Indeed, this writer learned about the partnership via Foursquare and Twitter before seeing any of the ads on television.) The article then goes on to compare the 50-gift cross-collection with the Missoni Madness of 2011.

But are the analysts comparing apples and oranges?

Reps for both retailers say so, noting their partnership was to created for the duration of the holiday season — not just a one-day sale. And to avoid the resells on eBay and other auction sites — a problem with last year’s Missoni promotion — customers are limited to five of each item.

A report by Deborah Weinswig, the Citibank analyst cited in the WSJ report, was quoted in the Dallas Morning News, laying blame on the disappointing sales on poor in-store execution. Weinswig surmised that based on Twitter chatter, all of the first day’s action was online, and the brick-and-mortars’ inventory could certainly be sold online. Reps for Target told the WSJ the placement of the collection in the back of the store was on purpose, designed with the hopes to increase traffic in other areas of the stores.
 

 
Whether the collection is red-hot online or in-store, the fact is: It’s cute, it’s affordable, and the partners can celebrate the brand awareness the promotion has created for their brands and the designers.

Check out how Target and Neiman promote the collection on their respective websites. No matter the framework, the collection still works, transcending the retailers’ consumer bases.

(Screencaps by J. Barrineau. Sources: Foursquare, Target.com and NeimanMarcus.com. 2012)

pitr_scissors_half-open_iconLivingSocial, a daily deals site based in D.C., is cutting 400 jobs after losing $566 million in the third quarter. (The Associated Press reports that is 9% of their workforce worldwide.)

What a shame. It seems like only yesterday only July when the D.C. Council handed the daily deal site a $33 million tax break to keep it in the District — as opposed to letting it migrate to more business-friendly Northern Virginia.

From a July WaPo story announcing the tax break:
 

Despite having yet to turn a profit, LivingSocial has quickly become one of the city’s largest private sector employers. Its staff has swelled from four to 5,000 since 2007, about 1,000 of which are based in the District.

 

Is it just me, or is it starting to smell a lot like the shenanigans that preceded the Dotcom Bust?

It’s not just me.

From the MoneyWatch story:

 

According to trade publisher Daily Deal Media, in the last six months of 2011 alone nearly 800 daily deal companies closed their doors.

 
Talk about done deals …

Something to Moo about

Posted: October 13, 2012 in ecommerce
Tags: , ,

I usually don’t post stuff like this, but I love this company and have sung its praises many times over the past two years. I’ve ordered three sets of business cards from them, and I did research paper and presentation on them when I was studying ecommerce.

You’ve probably heard of them, but maybe not. They’re Moo, and they produce amazing customized business cards. You can create an account and do all your designing right on the site. You can even upload photos so all the cards are different. I uploaded some of my Instagram shots for one batch, and they’re really cool-looking.Moo mini cards

If you’re a writer, photographer, designer or recovering journalist, this is a great way to produce a business card that leaves an impression.

(Photos courtesy of Moo.com)

The digitization of publishing is sadly and surprisingly still in its infancy. Right now there are too many proprietary formats and not enough standardization.

~ Troy Palmer, editor

 
In my latest interview for The Review Review, I talk to Troy Palmer, editor and publisher of Little Fiction., a digital press devoted to the art of the short story. Palmer’s answers make for a great read, offering insights into the complexities of digital publishing, the force of social media promotion, and the hours and sweat put into a true “labour of love.”

Check out Little Fiction. on TumblrFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest

About The Review Review: Edited by Becky Tuch, The Review Review  publishes reviews the latest issues of literary journals and interviews the editors behind them.

About Little Fiction.:  Launched in October 2011 by Troy Palmer, Little Fiction publishes short stories in the spirit of the mp3 — by making them digital and portable. And free.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post reflects my interest in advertising as a marketing student. No agencies or products are endorsed. The opinions expressed here are mine and in no way reflect the opinions of my employers.
 
Our heroine from the Toyota Venza commercial can be seen in the new Triscuits commercial.
 

 
That’s all I have to say about that right now because I have to go to dinner.
 

Like this commercial? Hate it?

 

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Like the ad? Show Allyn Rachel the love on her Facebook page.

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RELATED: Toyota Venza Girl plugs eBay

 

EARLIER: Toyota Venza Girl on Yahoo!

 

EARLIER: More on the girl in Toyota Venza commercial

 

EVEN EARLIER: Toyota Venza: ‘That’s not a real puppy’

 

RELATED: How Lady Gaga helped me get off Facebook

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing series documenting my social experiment as a former Facebook user. The observations and opinions expressed here are mine and do not in any way reflect those of my employers.

I got an email from a friend the other day saying she missed me on Facebook. It’s not the first such email, and it won’t be the last. It has been more than two months since I deactivated my Facebook account — again. And although I don’t miss it —  I do like not being on the world’s largest social network — this time around confirms what I discovered last fall: Being off Facebook makes for some weird real-world situations.

Unlike last time, I just deactivated without a lot of fanfare. This time there were no pleas for me to stay. No questions why. This time I made a clean break: For 24 hours, my status said, “I’ll be back. Promise.” And then I was gone.

After eight-plus weeks, I’ve found plenty of ways to keep busy — and more real-world social weirdness. I told a friend that because I’m not on Facebook that it’s as if I’m persona non grata. I have gotten (what seems to be?) cold shoulders from co-workers and former co-workers because they (might?) think I’ve defriended them. Even worse, I’ve lost a meaningful connection with co-workers and former co-workers whom I actually like — not to mention re-formed bonds with the college friends whom I truly love. Case in point: I’m just now catching up on plans for a 20-year reunion — but I’m not blaming the organizers. Facebook definitely makes it easier to orchestrate such events. If I’m not on Facebook, I have to work that much harder to be included.

But I don’t mind.

When I logged on after the first break, I found that as much as things change, the more they stay the same: I was losing the same 20 minutes every day that I had been losing before I logged off. And it was a precious 20 minutes. I had not deactivated my account because I think I’m too cool for Facebook; I did it to find some lost time because I am too easily distracted by — well, everything. Facebook was a crippling diversion for me at home. Away from work, every minute counts for me. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I needed to eliminate distractions that ate up my free time. Facebook was one of those distractions.

“But do you miss it?” That’s the question I get when I mention I’m a former Facebook user. The answer is no, not really. There are just so many things about Facebook I don’t like, such as its creepy “sharing” initiative or the classic overshares from the Chardonnay Moms or the chain-prayer posts. I have to admit, though, there are some things I miss. As a journalist and marketing/ecommerce student, I miss seeing what the marketers are doing with the brand pages. As a friend, I miss seeing what my friends are doing, how their kids are growing up. I miss seeing what my teenage niece is up to or the beach photos from North Carolina that make me homesick. All of which is more reason for me to make a real-life effort to connect — and to stay logged off.

 

NEW: Thinking about logging off? Baby steps for the Undecided<

 

EARLIER: How Lady Gaga helped me get off Facebook

 

YOU NEED TO KNOW: Mashable on Facebook’s auto-sharing feature