Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bye-bye brick and mortar?

Kudos to the Center for Media Research without which I would have missed the interesting report by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), entitled “Channel Integration and Benchmarks in the Retail Industry.”

Boring title - interesting info:
  • The absence of a brick-and-mortar store is becoming prevalent among retailers — 41 percent of survey respondents don’t have a physical store. [my note: survey was 101 retailers surveyed in November 2007]
  • The website is the most consistently used direct marketing channel, followed by email and direct mail.
  • Mobile is the direct marketing channel retailers are least likely to use.
  • Among the survey respondents, 66 percent gather customer information from direct mail, and 65 percent gather it from the Internet.
  • Discounts remain the most popular loyalty program, with 80 percent of respondents using them.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Trends that will impact your business

The WAN (World Association of Newspapers) asked leading newspapers executives to identify the current trends they believe will have an impact on the future of their businesses. The list of 66 trends will serve as the centrepiece for "scenario planning"workshop being held in France January 29-30.

Though designed by newspaper execs, these trends ring very true for the local business under assault by the many changes in today's marketplace. Here are just a few:
  • Availability is increasingly important - People are not always buying what they like, but instead what is at hand. 24/7 is becoming the norm.
  • Infinite choices are making it hard to decide what product/service to buy.
  • Increased life complexity calls for measures to simplify life.
    A new breed of "professional customers" -- well-educated customers with extensive knowledge of competing products/services and pricing.
  • 50-70 percent of buying decisions are made in the store means more focus on design.
You can dowload the whole list here

Small Biz Contest - $50K and lots of glory

If you have 100 employees or less and have used technology to develop a competitive advantage in delivering superior customer value and experience....here's a contest for you.

To seek out and reward innovative small businesses for their smart use of technology, Dell and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) - founded the Dell/NFIB Small Business Excellence Award program in 2004. Applications for this year's contest are due by Feb 29.

U.S. finalists will be announced in May 2008. Questions about the Small Business Excellence Award can be sent to SB_Award [at] Dell.com

OK, the $50,000 is in Dell products and services, but still, it's a nice opportunity and a very good playing field for the local business.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Small Biz Owners Always Working

Small biz owners are ALWAYS working. Yep. We knew that.

Thanks to Fox Business for alerting me to a new survey from Staples about small businesses - these stats will have folks who own local businesses nodding their heads:

"Small Business Managers Reveal Startling Work Hours and Habits

"Almost half of U.S. small business managers work during time meant for family and admit to making business calls and checking e-mail while driving, according to a national survey ...[exploring] the balance between work and personal time for 300 leaders of companies with fewer than 20 employees, a group representing nearly 90 percent of all U.S. businesses..."

Here are some of the other tidbits you'll pick up if you click through to the press release:
  • nearly one in five managers admit to reading work-related e-mail and documents while in the bathroom and nearly half work while driving
  • nearly two-thirds (62 percent) work well beyond a 40-hour week, and one in five work a double week, logging an extra 40 or more on-the-job hours.
  • one in five work while eating dinner at least 4–5 times per week
  • more than a third could not readily remember their last vacation.