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The Cardinal Rule

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Compelling online experiences (not traffic) drive sales. Consider a company like which is able to generate annualized web revenues of $169 Million through just 739,000 online monthly visitors. Translation: every customer that walks into (with or without an intention to buy) ends up spending $19 dollars (and change) at the store. That’s a really big deal and I …

Valentines Day Scam

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Retailers pay a lot of attention to store walk-ins; in fact they can rightfully claim to be experts. But they don’t know diddly squat about customer service. An example. Through I steer clear of the Valentines Day scam this year I decided to get something from RedEnvelope. Click click and I was at the shipping options page (this was turning …


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I’m not much of a gift giver but when I do end up gifting I like to make it as personalized as possible. For Valentines Day I bought love ‘fortune cookies’ from which I thought were very cute. I would have liked it even better if I could have attached a handwritten note with the gift, something to show …

The Adoption Game

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The common lesson in the new web 2.0 explosion has been that viral ideas trump good ideas almost every single time. Flickr, YouTube, Myspace and Techcrunch have all benefited from this; neither of these were the first to introduce an idea and yet they ended up completely dominating their respective services. So while retailers have been slow to innovate on …

The Feel Of Fabric

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Traditional retailers (across every single product category) have done so poorly compared to their younger online cousins that it’s not even worth discussing.  The domination is so complete many seem to have stopped trying altogether.  But in the retail world ‘real experiences’ still matter and retailers own the ‘real’ part of the equation.  Multichannel retailers with online stores need to …

If You Use Revenue As Sole Measure You Might Be Making A Fatal Mistake

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Nordstrom is one of the few retailers that have managed to grow quarter over quarter.  We don’t know what portion of their $7 Billion in revenues comes from online sales but this channel is definitely growing.  I was quite surprised to learn a whopping 3.5 million people visit every month.  As CEO I’d be just as interested in traffic …


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One of the cheapest ways to try out new alternatives is to present both to customers and then just observe how they use them. Case in point: AirTran is offering the option to use a pull down and a calender interface. Now, if only they looked at their logs to see that 90% of people dont use the pull down.

Mutually Exclusive Innovation

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The whole point of innovation is to improve a solution. Sometimes new innovation creates a whole new ecosystem and sometimes new innovation renders the incumbent obsolete. Take for example television and the Internet. Video on demand exists on our set top boxes and also on the Internet. However video on the Internet can be tagged and searched and this is …

Synergize Online And Offline Experiences

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Many people buy offline and then do in-store alterations. If this data were captured at the store level it could be presented when customers purchase/browse online. Additionally, integrating offline purchase history will allow browsers to see a list of products they have already bought; both online and offline. This is especially useful when someone is trying to buy a shirt …