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Denver Matress parent leverages adaptive design for e-commerce site

BY Dan Berthiaume

Denver – Furniture Row, parent company of home furnishings retailer Denver Mattress, is using the Oracle ATG e-commerce solution to both personalize the Denver Mattress e-commerce site and make it adaptable to the format of any device the customer chooses to employ. Using the “adaptive design” website design methodology enabled by ATG technology, the Denver Mattress site instantly recognizes what type of device — such as PC, smartphone or tablet — a customer is using and optimizes display for that specific screen.

In addition, Oracle ATG functionality helps Denver Mattress provide online customers with personalized content and customized search options based on previous interactions and purchases, location and other factors.

“Customers browse merchandise and compare items using their mobile phones right from the showroom floor, or they start their research at home before they come in,” said Noah Linge, director of digital marketing at Furniture Row. “We want to make that as easy as possible for them, to help them identify what they want, no matter where they are or what device they are using. We considered creating multiple applications for different consumer devices, but we didn’t want to have that extra step.”

The e-commerce upgrade is part of a larger initiative to drive store traffic and increase sales across Denver Mattress stores in 30 states.

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Reemarkit seeks to reconfigure online resales

BY Dan Berthiaume

Wilmington, Del. – Reemarkit.com, a new e-commerce business that promotes itself as an “online garage sale,” is trying to reconfigure the booming business of consumers reselling used goods online. While such popular sites as eBay and Amazon allow individuals and businesses to resell used merchandise in exchange for a cut of the profits and/or listing fees, Reemarkit.com is technically free, but is employing a profit model more commonly seen in online video games.

To make a purchase on Reemarkit.com, users must first buy virtual currency known as “reemarks.” Users also can earn reemarks for performing activities, such as initially joining the site and recommending it to others, lending some mild gamification functionality to the site. There is no indication that reemarks can be transferred back to standard currency or used in any venue other than Reemarkit.com.

Reemarkit.com is taking a big gamble by basing its profit margin upon the creation of its own proprietary online currency. Online games that use their own virtual currency and rewards systems, like Second Life, are nowhere near as popular now as they were five or 10 years ago. While listing and selling items is cheaper on Reemarkit.com than on other similar sites, consumers may well prove willing to take a smaller profit in currency they can use anywhere, rather than only on the Reemarkit.com site.

While it’s not hard to envision a core community of “Reemarkiters” forming that could sustain the company enough to keep it going, it’s more difficult to imagine the site having any radical impact on how mainstream consumers buy and sell used goods online.

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As Seen On TV gives power to the people

BY Dan Berthiaume

Clearwater, Fla. – Multichannel retailer/product marketer As Seen On TV is taking advantage of the burgeoning crowd-funding trend to let its customers help decide what new products will be available for sale. Partnering with crowd-funding software provider Launcht Inc., As Seen On TV will allow inventors to upload video, images, design specifications and marketing strategies relating to their product ideas onto its e-commerce site. Customers will then be able to comment on, review and make prepurchases of products. Those items with the best customer response and highest presale totals will be brought to market, with crowd-funders having special early access.

"This is a significant opportunity for our company and a terrific way to interact with consumers worldwide," said Ronald C. Pruett, Jr., president and CEO of As Seen On TV. "We will use the feedback and consumer response to influence the product design and distribution channels we select.”

Pruett is correct that early customer response to proposed merchandise can provide valuable real-time feedback while products and marketing campaigns are still being developed. In addition, this program is a great means of creating customer intimacy and a sense of empowerment that would likely drive loyalty.

However, having customers allocate dollars to prepurchases of items that may never hit the market will require taking the time and expense of processing refunds, and also may create disappointment and possibly even anger among customers who hope to get early access to a favorite product and instead are told it will not be available. As Seen On TV is probably better off selecting products based on customer commentary and review, and then accepting early crowd-funding purchases before they are made available to the general public.

As Seen On TV expects to launch its crowd-funding program later this summer.

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