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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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Staples courts back to school market

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — School may be out for summer, but Staples has already released its top product picks for the 2013 back-to-school shopping season.

“School supplies need to reflect students’ individual styles, and we are excited by this year’s amazing selection, all at great values,” said Alison Corcoran, SVP, stores and online marketing. “Staples makes it easy to find everything on your list for less this back-to-school season.”

The retailer is looking to maximize foot traffic into its stores by bringing back its Back-to-School Savings Pass, which gives shoppers a 15% discount on supplies. The pass, which costs $10, will be available for purchase through Aug. 31 and is valid through Sept. 21.

Staples is offering everything from light-up pencil pouches to decorative items so students can personalize their lockers. But the retailer is not focusing only on notebooks and loose leaf paper. It is appealing to increasingly tech-savvy youth with an offering of laptops and tablets, as well as assorted cases, including the Jansport Superbreak Sleeve, which lets students safely store their laptops in a backpack. Also available are the Jansport 1.0 Tablet Sleeve and Jansport 1.0 Laptop Sleeve, in zebra and safari prints.

The retailer is also leveraging social media to drive sales, encouraging parents and students alike to check for deals and back-to-school promotions on Staples’ Facebook page and Twitter feed by following the hashtag #StaplesHasIt.

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