Google Checkout Launches
June 30, 2006

The highly anticipated payment service Google Checkout was launched Thursday by the eponymous search-engine giant. Initially referred to in news reports as Google Wallet or GBuy, Google Checkout processes online transactions between customers and e-tailers. Checkout also stores names, addresses and credit card information -- so that customers need not reveal this information directly to sellers -- and is responsible for keeping the data safe. The services provided by Checkout are much like those of PayPal, which is owned by eBay--one of Google’s biggest advertisers. Although the services offered are similar, the costs of PayPal and Checkout are different. PayPal’s fees run from 1.9 to

DS0506 Attitudes.David
May 1, 2006

Are You in the Book? I saw a picture the other day that made me laugh. I was looking for some information on a telecom Web site when I came across a picture of a man and a woman in an office, looking over a sheet of paper. The caption reads (with names omitted): Yellow Pages account representative reviews an ad with small-business owner. It struck me as funny. Did this woman actually take time out of her surely busy day to go down to the telecom office just to review a yellow page ad? Why didn’t they e-mail her a .pdf file, or

Seeking Best Practices
March 1, 2006

A few years ago, I asked 40 different industry suppliers to list their best dealers. I also asked them what characteristics made those dealers the best. Almost all vendors said that their top dealers were those who had developed best practices in a number of key areas. Google “best business practices” and you’ll find hundreds of pages of articles on the topic. Focusing on best practices has become the latest mantra of business gurus, but the process of defining and implementing them can be complex. They vary from business to business, and they are always rooted in a company’s core values. For instance,

Year in CE
February 1, 2006

2006 will be a great year for technology, but it won't be business as usual By The Staff It's not often that the heads of some of the major CE retailers get together in one room to have a conversation. But in a panel hosted by CEA president Gary Shapiro, the heads of Radio Shack, CompUSA, Best Buy and Circuit did just that. And while their concerns may differ quite a bit from that of a smaller dealer or retail chain, their observations could still be viewed as bellweathers of what trends coming out of CES will be important for the year 2006. Overall,

e-Tailing- Start Your Engines
December 1, 2005

Are you search engine savvy yet? Your customers are. By Audrey Gray As company lore goes, Charlottesville, Va.,-based retailer/e-tailer Crutchfield has one of the quirkiest customer service stories around. Crutchfield marketing director Michele Rick tells the tale like this: "Thirty-one years ago, Bill Crutchfield knew people could get intimidated by installing new equipment in their dashes. So he actually had a phone line put in his bedroom in case customers needed his help in the middle of the night." New gear is still a hot link to insomnia. But today, when customers are perplexed by a wireless router or surround sound

Google Goes Local; Retailers Should Take Heed
October 10, 2005

By Audrey Gray Passé are the days when a shopping trip began with a fat marker and the phone book. Now, when a customer is ready to purchase a big ticket item, they'll often start off with an internet search, just to get a sense of their options. And where do they begin online? As of August, 2005, 37 percent of Americans were turning to Google and 29 percent to Yahoo (Source: comScore Media Metrix). In early October, Google took it's new "Local" search feature out of the Beta testing ground and merged the service with maps. That

Transshipped At A Cost
April 15, 2004

Transshipped At A Cost The resale of products at wholesale is pervasive, but some are bolstering efforts to keep it in check. By Janet Pinkerton This scenario may sound familiar: A fulfillment house legitimately purchases 4,000 camcorders directly from a vendor at a good price, taking delivery over six months time for a premium rewards program. But at the program's end there are 100 left over in inventory and so the fulfillment house turns around and sells off the remaining camcorders at wholesale "on the streets" to other retailers. It's called transshipping, and it's an all-to-common practice at all levels of retail that few

Connections - Lessons in Cyberselling
February 1, 2003

By Gary Arlen President Arlen Communications Inc. A few holiday shopping observations: Online sales outpaced catalog sales during the 2002 holiday shopping season. Eighty-five percent of Web shoppers registered satisfaction levels far above previous years' experience. Nearly 40 percent of online customers shopped via the Web just to avoid traffic, a ratio that increased as holiday hassles grew during mid-December, and Best Buy doubled its online sales from the previous year. Cybershopping is no longer entirely price-driven, with only 33 percent of customers citing "low price" as their reason for buying via the Web. And perhaps least surprisingly, computer products and consumer electronics held steady as