Tag Archives: retail

It’s one of Canada’s largest – and oldest – retailers. And for nearly a century, Canadian Tire used good old fashioned advertising methods to reach millions of loyal customers – weekly newspaper flyers, TV ads and the annual catalog were promotional staples for the retail giant. Today, the company still pushes its products through these time-tested methods. But through a multi-million dollar investment in technology, it is augmenting the way it develops, promotes and sells everything from snowshoes to truck tires to pet food.  Social media is playing an increasingly bigger role in the company’s product development reboot. Take its Tested for Life in Canada program. Canadian Tire has put the product development process online and in the hands of close to 15,000 Canadians who have signed up to put the retailer’s merchandise through the ringer. The reviewers test products at home and openly share their reviews and experiences with Canadian Tire, customers, and with other testers, through various social media channels. By developing a unique social media component to its bread-and-butter product development process, Canadian Tire is putting the fate of dozens of popular products – and perhaps its reputation – directly into the hands of everyday Canadians.

Lululemon Athletica is definition of a Canadian grassroots retail success story. From humble beginnings in 1998 starting in Vancouver, British Columbia, they went public in 2007 on the NASDAQ and for a period on the TSE, and now in 2017 they have over 10,000 employees and stores in 12 countries (plus lululemon.com) (Crunchbase, 2017; Reuters, 2017). Lululemon has won a tremendous following of loyal customers and employees. The culture of the company is contagious; the people that work there live and breath it. In turn, this creates an incredibly authentic dialogue between the company and its customer base. Recognizing that lululemon ran for the first 10-12 years on grassroots marketing (and two in-publication ads), the success the company is experiencing is a huge testament to who the brand is – product-wise and culture-wise (Carter, 2013).

Emco is a wholesale and retail plumbing supplier with highly sophisticated B2B clients doing multi-million dollar projects, and also has many ordinary B2C folk who just need a new faucet for their bathroom reno. How does a conglomerate like Emco engage their diverse customer base through social media, and, how effective is Emco’s social media customer engagement? There are two types of B2B Emco customers. Let’s consider the “3 bids and a buy” customer who calls late Friday afternoon for a price comparison. Sure, the customer is just price shopping, but Emco’s local branch will gladly fill out the RFP (Request for Proposal) and email it back promptly. They’ll follow-up conscientiously, but they know only the lowest price wins with this particular client, and this time, it may not be in Emco’s best interests to match the competitor’s lowest price as margins, ROI, and the intrinsic cost of time necessary to get this sale may not fall within their sales formula. Emco’s sales professionals know that selling on lowest price isn’t going to create an ongoing sales relationship. Emco wants all their customer’s business, and they are highly motivated to take a lot of time to cultivate multiple personal contacts to develop deep customer engagement, often requiring complicated engineering solutions to alleviate their customer’s pain points along the way. Emco’s mantra is “Get your customer out of pain”, and much like the intimate relationship between a doctor and his patient, Emco works fiercely to foster strong customer relationships based on person-to-person meetings, expertise, collaboration, and transparency formulated on correct customer problem diagnosis and resolution. Emco’s core belief: develop mutual respect and confidence based on providing solutions, and the customer–corporate relationship will have deep roots, based on mutual trust, and will have long-lasting mutual value. Sometimes, that makes their products more expensive than their competitors’, but for a large B2B customer working on a multi-million dollar project, it’s getting the job done on time, and within budget that matters most. Is it even significant then, if the customer pays a few dollars more for Emco’s product if that special valve to finish this vital stage can arrive on-site tomorrow? Suppose there’s a crew of engineers stuck out in the field, ground to a halt in BC’s interior, because they can’t move on without that specialty item. The clock is ticking and time is money – big money. Often, taking the time… Read more »

Traditionally, Black Friday is a day for consumers to spend mad amounts of money on discounted wares. More and more in recent years, there are videos and phone captures of in-store fights, parking lot brawls, and general retail unpleasantness. But one company decided that there had to be a better different way. Cards Against Humanity, everyone’s favourite “party game for horrible people,” has spent the past three Black Fridays requesting that their customers pay a price increase or donate their money to the game’s creators. Though this is a clearly unconventional request, their customers passionately and quickly respond, giving their funds freely. Let’s look at how a start-up has not only turned their consumers into passionate product advocates, but also into willing financial contributors who receive little, if not nothing, in return.    

The Halal food industry is a booming industry especially in the Toronto area. The technique of Halal used by Muslims worldwide mirrors the Kosher methods in Judaism whereby Islamic blessings instead, are imparted on the animals right before they are slaughtered. It currently accounts for 16% of the entire global food industry and projected to go up to 20% in the near future according to SGS Solutions Experts. According to SGS, this industry now accounts for CAD $1.87 Trillion in business worldwide on an annual basis with people following the Muslim faith soon expected to represent the largest share of global consumer spending and widespread acceptance of the halal slaughter methods in major grocery chains. In 1971, Ayub Qureshi may have had the foresight of this industry when he brought out one of the first halal meat butcher shops in Toronto on Lawrence Ave called Al-Qureshi Meats. He has since retired, but with growing up around his father’s business and exposure to the retail meat environment at such a young age, son Asim Qureshi has recognized some of the trends of today’s general public and wanted to carry out the family legacy. With this, he and his partner introduced a new line of products that would help families to indulge in the traditional Indian and Pakistani flavoured meats, and at the same time, saving them the long and sometimes arduous process in preparing them. Today’s growing trends moving towards more ethnic dishes due to the high immigrant communities in Toronto, even the demographic that don’t associate themselves with being South Asian are getting on board in the consumption of such spices and delicacies. Time is slowly becoming quite the valuable commodity and so are finances. With people trying to eat more at home and finding ways to avoid eating out at restaurants on a regular basis, Tandoori Oven was the flagship product under One World Foods Asim and his team conjured up to fulfill that particular need. The food has to be fast, Consumers lack the time and the knowledge to develop the flavours at home. You have to balance the authenticity of the traditional flavours, but tone the spice down. It needs to be authentic, but not overpowering. (Asim Qureshi – Toronto Star Oct 12/2012) With an already competitive market, food suppliers that are new to the industry need to find cost effective ways to manage their business and social media has been an effective method. There are many stages of the supply… Read more »

Social media and connectivity has gone through a long way in changing human lives. As to business organizations, utilizing social media becomes an emerging trend during production developments process. Especially for consumer facing product development, leveraging social media truly helps to break the geographic and segment barriers in order to be more innovative.

Global companies are continuously communicating and collaborating with a broad community of people.1  Social media can help bridge the communication gap and help collaborate information more effectively and more efficiently.  Eyewear By Olga is a luxury eyewear retailer carrying top crafted frames from around the world.  It is located in the heart of Mississauga, in Port Credit.  Olga Trentin, Owner of Eyewear by Olga utilizes social media in every aspect of her business, whether it is for her retail store or online boutique. “Social media has definitely helped my business, from visibility to purchasing to inventory management.” says Olga Trentin.

Today’s marketing landscape is ever changing, and with it, the way we engage with our customers.  It is no longer about selling a service or a product; now it is all about the customer experience.  Companies like T by Daniel, a Brampton based tea house, strive to provide a genuinely exceptional experience for each and every person they meet.  Lovers of tea, fashion and especially people, Daniela and Renata Lewis had a vision to start something that could speak to all generations and could bring people together 1. It began when Daniel Lewis overcame a tragedy and used his new found passion for life to follow his dream with his loving wife by his side.  “From the moment a person walks into our store, our immediate goal is to wow them” says Renata Lewis, co-founder.  Their friendly staff focus on getting to know their customers, whether in person or online.

In North America, many employees are disconnected and disengaged from their work, making them less productive. When an employee is engaged in their work, they are more focused and motivated, allowing companies to stay ahead of their competition. Internal social media platforms for employees to stay up to speed have become increasingly favoured in organizations and this will only continue to increase.  

Everyone has at least one bad habit. The definition of bad being loosely defined from “unfavourable” to “incorrect” to “harmful”, all of which are subject to interpretation. A bad habit can range from sneaking into the cupboard in the middle of night to chow down on some cookies to a full blown gambling addiction where you lose your house and every material thing you’ve ever owned. Speaking of every material thing you’ve ever owned… Have you heard of Confessions of a Shopaholic?  

It is no secret to major brands that consumers’ faith towards regular brand messaging is decreasing. According to Erik Qualman from http://www.socialnomics.net/, 90% of consumers trust peer-to-peer brand recommendations, as opposed to 14% of consumers who trust advertisers. Brands now know that their employees are their best spokespeople on social media. The “State of the Global Workplace Report” reveals that 40% of engaged employees cite their company’s social media communication as the source for keeping informed on important news But how can companies get their employees involved on social media?

Home Depot Makes You Shine *Limited Time Offer

FBatarse   October 11, 2015
Social HD

Organisation Name: Home Depot Industry: Home Hardware, Construction, DIY Web Reference: Home Depot, HD Media Relations, Clickz Review, Social Success, AdAge What is the Home Depot Doing? In an effort to empower its cliental, the Home Depot has experimented with various points of attraction. Stuff the competition was slow to react on, in the business world its known that being pro-active will… Read more »

Sephora Merges In-Store & Online Shopping Through Digital Innovation

Cristina Avila   March 11, 2015
Sephora Logo

Organization Name: Sephora Industry: Health and Beauty Name of Contact: N/A Web References: Forbes, Venture Beat, Fast Company, Mobile Commerce Daily, Digiday Description of How Social Media is Used for Business Performance: With over 1,900 locations worldwide, global beauty chain Sephora is a leader in digital innovation, providing shoppers with a custom brand experience which transitions seamlessly between online and in-store environments. Sephora is a… Read more »

Cocoon Apothecary Uses Social Media Marketing to Educate, Inspire and Succeed

cmuss   March 8, 2015
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Organisation name: Cocoon Apothecary Industry: Retail Contact: Jessica Burman, Founder Web References: Cocoon Apothecary Description of how social media is used for business performance Cocoon Apothecary (Cocoon) is an artisanal skin care company known for its commitment to producing products that are organic, cruelty-free and earth-friendly. Ever wondered what it’s like to grow a successful business from the comfort of… Read more »

soleRebels “pairs” a great product with a strong ethical business model to create locally and sell globally

CRS   March 8, 2015

Organisation Name: soleRebels Industry: Footwear manufacturing and distribution Name of contact if available: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Founder, CEO and Managing Director About soleRebels: In 2004, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu began a footwear company based upon the creativity and skills of local Ethiopian artisans using sustainable production materials and methods. SoleRebels artisans create hand-crafted footwear while earning three to five times more… Read more »

Customer Personas: How ASOS rocks the urban scene and Benetton mixes a message to engage

tmatulis   February 8, 2015

Organisation Name: ASOS Industry: Online fashion retail Web references: http://www.asos.com London –based ASOS is a global on-line fashion player that targets urban 20-something customers.  ASOS aims to be the ‘hub of a thriving fashion community’.  Their numbers are impressive – over 80,000 branded and own-brand products shipped from warehouses in the UK, US, Europe and China to almost every country in… Read more »

Holt Renfrew Provides Employees with Luxury Experience by Creating Awareness of Compensation & Rewards Package

Cristina Avila   February 1, 2015

Organization Name: Holt Renfrew Industry: Retail Name of Contact: Tara Deegan, Director, Total Rewards & HR Analytics, Holt Renfrew Web References: Holt Renfrew, Redwood E-Learning Systems, Canadian HR Reporter, HRPA – Human Resources Professional Association, The Globe and Mail Description of How Social Media is Used for Business Performance: According to the Human Resources Professionals Association, “A robust compensation, rewards… Read more »

Improving employee engagement from the inside out: Social Media and Harrods

Paige Mahoney-Nagle   February 1, 2015
Harrods

Organization Name: Harrods Harrods is a luxury department store located in London,United Kingdom. They have been in business for over 160 years and currently employ 5000 employees with an additional 3500 agency and concession employees. Industry: Retail Web References: Twitter.com/Harrods, facebook.com/Harrods, LinkedIn, engagedforsuccess.org, businesscasestudies.co.uk Internal Social Networking… In 2010 ownership of Harrods changed hands and the incoming owners, Qatar Holding, knew that… Read more »

D-I-Vine: Lowes’ #fixinsix Vine videos combine DIY with successful social content marketing

Jane Dawkins   November 12, 2014
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Organization name: Lowe’s Companies, Inc. Industry: Retail home improvement and appliance stores Company Contact: Tom Lamb, Lowe’s Senior Vice President of Marketing & Advertising Web references: Lowe’s Description of how social media is used for business performance: According to a release from advertising giants BBDO, Lowe’s is the second largest home improvement retailer in the world. As a part of the… Read more »

eBay – Going the Extra Mile in the Value Management Chain

tighed   October 28, 2014
ebay now

Title of Post:  eBay – Going the Extra Mile in the Value Management Chain Organization Name:  eBay Industry:  E-commerce (consumer-to-consumer & business-to-consumer sales services via Internet) Web Reference:  www.ebay.ca In order to stay competitive and remain on the cutting edge of a complex business world, more companies are incorporating social media technologies into their supply chain management strategies. In our… Read more »

Nestle Deals With Public Concerns Using Effective Social Media Engagement

jmelich   October 24, 2014

Organization name: Nestle Industry: Multinational food and beverage company Contacts: Paul Bulcke, Peter Brabeck Letmathe Description how social media is used in business performance: Nestle is a Swiss multinational food and beverage company headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland.  It is the largest retail food company in the world measured by revenues.  Nestle product include baby food, bottled water, breakfast  cereals, coffee,… Read more »

Whole Foods Market – How Social Media is Influencing The Supply Chain

jeffdbaldwin   October 23, 2014

Title: Whole Foods Market – Using Social Media To Influence The Supply Chain Organization Name: Whole Foods Market Industry: Food, Supermarket    Name of Contact: John Mackey (Founder and CEO) Who Are They? Whole Foods Market is an American grocery retailer that specializes in providing natural and organic food options throughout their supermarket style stores. It currently has just shy of 400 stores located… Read more »

Brewing Up Customer Engagement Has Its Perks At Starbucks

nnn   June 3, 2013

Customer engagement via social media platforms is typically measured by likes, comments and shares.  As a result many companies have focused their social media efforts solely on attracting as many new fans as possible with the hope of converting fans into sales. Starbucks however is different.  Starbucks  has focused it’s social media efforts on building relationships with its customers. “We want to… Read more »

Dell Gets Personal

aryanaheit   May 30, 2013

In the past few years, Twitter has easily become the fastest growing social platform in the world. It has attracted hundreds of millions of users that are not limited to personal accounts; many businesses and corporations have Twitter accounts for a number of different purposes. If you take a look at Dell’s official Twitter page, you’ll notice that they not… Read more »

Anthropologie, One of the Most “Pinfluential” Brands in Fashion

becky.minor   February 20, 2013
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Pinterest is no longer the new kid on the block in the social media marketing world. Since sky-rocketing to the top of the social media charts in 2011, Pinterest has established itself as a major player, not only in social networking, but also in social media marketing, by presenting brands with a unique way to engage customers. In short, Pinterest… Read more »