Are private label manufacturers branding themselves to the end user?

I didn’t expect to find the manufacturer’s name in my “unbranded” generic Allegra OTC Allergy medicine from Target.

It looks like Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. (NYSE: RDY), the India-based pharmaceutical company know for its generic drug business, has decided to step out of the shadows. In this case they are branding themselves to end users through private label packaging. What’s next – consumers building preference for one generic drug manufacturer over another?

 

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Oh no, GroupOn’s got even more competition

As if it couldn’t get any worse for GroupOn, now they have to deal with some serious competition. Can someone really own the local advertising market?

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Adobe Flash Download Page Design Curiousity

This could be one of the most visited web pages for a software download, yet I find it very curious that they choose to list the “Download time estimate” using a 56k modem. Perhaps my point of view is myopic in its own right and there are still many 56k modem users.

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Does it Make Sense to Use QR Codes on Actual Web Pages?

I came across this medical website that was using QR codes on its actual web pages.  Their goal allow the user to bookmark the page being browse while on your mobile device. I’m not sure I get it.  Here is a snippet from the page:

QR Code on Web Page Question:

1) Is there a function that can actually read QR codes displayed on smart phones without having to use the same phones camera, making taking a picture of the phone screens impossible?  (IDEA: Pull out flexible camera on smartphone, like a medical scope that goes down you throat, but i digress (hate saying that)).

2) Does is make the company who runs the website seem like it doesn’t understand QR codes?

3) Do I understand QR Codes?  I see them as a fun interactive way to get people to visit a site instead of having to open a browser and type out the website name.

ePromos  sponsor’s this free QR code generator.

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Home Depot Sells Nascar Items but Doesn’t Carry its Own Driver’s Merchandise?

Where's Joey Logano's Merchandise?They could be out of stock, but check out this Home Depot screen shot (click photo):

I stumbled upon a Nascar Umbrella by Totes, when searching for a replacement outdoor umbrella stand.  I was very surprised to find regular umbrellas at all, let alone a Dale Earnhardt Jr. model.  I used to be a big fan of the #20 car when it was driven by Tony Stewart and being in the promotional product business where we sell tons of custom logo umbrellas, curiousity got me.  I searched for Nascar on the entire site.  Found only a few products, however what was clearly missing was Home Depot’s own #20 Joey Logano merchandise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some pictures I took of Joey at Bristol Motor Speedway in TN last summer:

Business Lesson: At least carry your own branded merchandise.

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3D Printing, Photocopy Actual Items with Moving Parts

I found this video amazing.  Made by ZCorporation, they print with not only color but with a binder that creates products not 2D prints on paper.  Watch a 2:59 when the guy lifts the item out of the powder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZboxMsSz5Aw&t=25s

 

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Pet Peeve – Bad Photoshopping.

I applaud small companies trying to look big, but you have to get your logo superimposed just right if people are going to believe you are big enough to occupy an entire building.  ePromos’ graphic designers can fix this like this for our clients.

Here’s the image grabbed from the offender’s About Us page with a Photoshop superimposed image.

Here’s the real building on Google Maps: (caveat: this could be an old Google image!)

Business Lesson: If you are going to make yourself look big, remember technology can blow your cover.

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Amazing Customer Service Example from of all Places a Sleep-Away Camp?

Too bad most businesses today can’t muster up this level of service.  My ten year old daughter went to sleep-away camp this year.  An while this is her third year, parents still approach the departure with trepidation and concern.  Will she be homesick? Who is in her bunk? Does she have a good counselor? You do put a great deal of trust in a camp when you ship your kid off on a bus for seven weeks.

However, when you get a hand written note as brilliant as this one you calm down in a hurry.  Written beautifully in nice handwriting, the Group Leader tells you about herself on camp branded logo note pads and everything suddenly is better.  Just a perfect touch from some brilliant camp business people, who really care and really get it.  All a parent needs to hear is “I’m going to work really hard to make this a great summer for your daughter,” and you feel great about your decision.  Way to go Dan and Jane you know who you are.

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How to sell more items at retail prices? Solve a problem. – TRUNK CLUB

http://www.trunkclub.com/ is a great idea. They are not paying me for this. I just think it’s a great case study on how to solve multiple business problems at once.

Problem:

1) Hassle: Men hate to shop but want to look good. Psychologically, it’s uncomfortable for men to shop, even at retail stores with a dedicated salesperson/stylist. On a macro level it would seem that more men’s clothes could be sold if some of these hurdles were removed in the buying process.

2) Even the web is far from perfect: The web solves some of the problems, but adds others.  Typically web stores lack personal knowledgeable service – you can’t really see what the merchandise looks like in person and colors can be off.  It’s also difficult to assess the different fit of various brands and styles. Returns can be a hassle.

3) Business challenges: Businesses have to support the web sales channel which means maintaining a state of the art web store with photos, merchandising, pricing, promotions, SEO, SEM, PPC and centralized inventory systems. This means more employees and more overhead. Selling branded merchandise on the web often means you have to get more competitive and therefore lower your profit margins. The brick-and-mortar retailers have sales every other week, plus it’s easy to check a brand name product and style to see if it’s cheaper at some other web retailer.  Businesses know they can sell more if they get the customer face to face.

Solution: Remove the hassle, provide service, make it fun, keep your margins, and it appears they don’t even have to have the huge expense of running a traditional web site. Here is how Trunk Club works:

You register and provide your Name, Email, Phone, store you typically shop in, brands you like, your job, measurements like waist, neck, weight, height etc. and you get a call.

They send you a box, you try on the stuff with the consultant over skype so they can see the fit and change your profile if necessary in their systems and replace items you like with new sizes. No one is watching, you feel more comfortable, and the personal interaction should increase retention as the person won’t return everything. A sales consultant in the process can make the buyer more likely to keep a bigger percentage of the merchandise.

A note about Skype. Skype can enhance the web sales relationship, especially where tangible goods are involved. Check out Skype’s case study on ePromos Promotional Products featuring your’s truly.

Here’s the ABC Nightline Segment on Trunk Club.  Thank Hulu for the pre-commercial:

Trunk Club is a brilliant solution, solving multiple problems at one time. Their use of Skype for Business shows how companies can further enhance communication and improve the customer experience while improving their bottom line.  Nice work Trunk Club, good luck to you.

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Scenes From an Italian Restaurant (What’s Wrong with this Picture?)

Bad WaiterOkay, so you caught me. I didn’t put my napkin on my lap.  We were still in “having drinks” mode. But actually, that isn’t what is wrong. I don’t know if their is a top ten rules to make you a better server, however, when you deliver a fresh new drink to a small marble table that’s already filled up with bottles and drinkware, you take the old one away.  Period. Put one down, pick one up. Put one down, pick it up.

Restaurant: La Bottega, 9th Avenue, NY

Food: Solid 4/5.

Waitress: As rude as they come in NY, so that is saying a lot. Rest of the staff seems great.

Patron:   "Excuse me, I think you may have forgotten my Amstel."
Waitress: "You didn't order one.  Would you now like to
           order an Amstel."

10 minutes later...

Patron:   "Excuse me, we're still waiting for our Mushroom Pizza"
Waitress: "You didn't order one.  Would you like to order a Mushroom
           Pizza now. Going forward I'll repeat back your order."

Message to Management: She’s the blonde with the attitude that makes it obvious she doesn’t want to be waiting tables. You know who she is. Worked the middle of the outside on June 28, 2011.

My Drink: Ketel One with Blood Orange Juice – I don’t have a fancy name for it yet but I’m working on it.

Hospitality Lesson: Customers are special – your job is to act in a way that impresses them and respects them so they come back over and over again. When a customer says anything to you that indicates any form of dissatisfaction, just say, “I must have missed it, I apologize, let me get that for you right away.”

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