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Zale holiday sales lag

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Zale Corp. reported Tuesday that same-store sales for the holiday selling season of November and December 2011 rose 5.9%, compared with an 8.5% gain in the same period last year.

Within the two-month period, same-store store sales increased 10.1% in November and 4.2% in December.

Revenues for the two-month period were $564 million, compared with $533 million in the same period last year, an increase of 5.8%.

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New chairman named at JCPenney

BY CSA STAFF

PLANO, Texas — JCPenney announced that Thomas Engibous will become chairman of its board of directors on Jan. 28. Engibous was named to the board in 1999 and has served in presiding director and lead independent director roles since 2008. He will assume the chairman’s role from Myron Ullman, III, JCPenney’s former chief executive officer, who will step down as executive chairman.

Ron Johnson, chief executive officer of JCPenney, said, "Tom is deeply committed to the success of the company, shares our vision for the future and has been invaluable to me in my early days leading JCP. His guidance will continue to be of great help as we build JCpenney into America’s favorite store."

Engibous said, "Important work is underway at JCPenney to transform the company by delivering a new level of innovation, creativity and excitement to customers. I look forward to working closely with Ron, management and the Board to help ensure the success of the company’s plans and drive shareholder value."

Engibous is the retired chairman of Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI), one of the world’s leading electronics companies. He served as its president and CEO from 1996 through 2004, having joined TI in 1976. In addition to JCPenney, Engibous is a director of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited.

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Capitalizing on Mobile Marketing’s Potential: Five Critical Success Factors

BY CSA STAFF

By Mike Romano, [email protected]

Times are changing as the mobile revolution bears down on the retail industry, transforming how consumers act, shop and connect with brands. Today’s consumer is a lot more sophisticated, not only carrying more stringent demands – but also their smartphones, tablets and PDAs everywhere they go, whether it’s in the office, in the car and even the storefront.

According to CTIA, the total number of US-based wireless subscribers (327.6 million) has surpassed the entire American population (312.4 million). They also found that smartphone and wireless-enabled PDA devices usage rose from 61.2 million to 95.8 million since the middle of 2010. Even more relevant for retailers is the 2011 Mobile Commerce Daily survey revealing 50% of consumers use their devices for shopping purposes. Simply put: consumers prefer to engage, interact and do business through mobile channels, which are now considered critical baselines for building loyalty.

If there’s an underlying message, it’s the harsh reality that retailers who fail to adapt their marketing strategies are setting the stage for an unforgiving set of consequences, including a disinterested customer base, loss of sales and heavy hits on revenue potential. Devising a mobile strategy, however, is a lot easier said than done. It’s far from one size fits all, contingent on an organization’s products, culture and customer base. But luckily, there are several common success factors uniform across the industry:

Preach expressed consent: Historically viewed in the context of industry and federal regulatory compliance, express consent – commonly referred to as opt-in – is a critical feature to growing your mobile reach and engaging your most valuable customers. Besides being mandated by industry regulations, express consent offers invaluable perspectives and insight into how customers behave, prefer to receive information and interact with your brand.

Yet soliciting consent from consumers can be a challenge, given their traditional reluctance to volunteer their mobile phone numbers and personal information. Retailers should view this as an opportunity to be more creative, using online sign-up forms, in-store promotions and sweepstakes providing consumers with an incentive to share this information. After all, it’s a two-way street.

Live by a customer database. This is the means to capitalizing on the potential of express consent. Many retailers fall into the common pitfall of using mobile databases only on a tactical basis, where in reality they are the most valuable sources of intelligence to drive any mobile marketing strategy and create a holistic profile of your most loyal customers.

Mobile databases are not simple Excel spreadsheets with a list of customer cell phone numbers. They should include all information you value, including home addresses, email addresses, dates of birth and other key demographic information needed to aide your marketing efforts. Growing a database should be treated as an ongoing process, not a one-time event. You should be continually updating customer information and preferences, realizing they may shift overnight.

Personalize campaigns: Once you’ve gained expressed consent and built a mobile database, there’s still work to be done. Retailers must identify unique ways to keep consumers engaged and coming back for more. Luckily, mobile marketing presents the opportunity to inform customers of sales and promotions in ways other forms of communication cannot. Traditional advertising relies on the push-marketing hope that consumers will get the message. Mobile offers companies a direct pull-marketing line to its audience, through a channel the customer has already expressed interest in, and opted-in to receive.

Some of the most successful strategies among retailers include lacing communications with exclusive offers, mapped with customer preferences. When they agree to opt-in, customers are providing invaluable insight into exactly how they’d like to be reached. The savvy retailers are the ones using this information to their advantage, as a foundation for unique communications based on interests consumers might have conveyed, or providing exclusive offers shaped around products they’ve purchased before.

Expand communication channels. Retailers must gain an awareness of which mobile communication vehicles work and which don’t. Those with a proven record of success with mobile generally communicate once a week with exclusive offers for recipients via SMS text. By using this as a baseline, you can then expand from here with different strategies and mobile technologies such MMS content, location-based services and POS bar-coded mobile couponing.

This also helps break through the constant clutter consumers are facing. For example, you can integrate location-based services in which users can access coupons or discounts for coming into the store, or integrate QR codes into print advertisements, taking them to promotions or other sales information on your website.

Keep loyalty top of mind. The end game of a successful mobile marketing strategy is building customer loyalty – quicker, and in high numbers. Whether through location-based social media, mobile commerce or in-store promotions, mobile marketing engages customers with your brand and keeps them coming back for more. But actually getting customer attention and commitment is far from a science.

Incentivizing is key. According to a recent Sybase and Mobile Marketing Association survey, 62% of consumers indicated they would be willing to make a purchase on their mobile device, if they were given enticements through means such as coupons, discounts and gift cards.

Mobile marketing is also valuable breaking through the clutter that’s killing how retailers make money on loyalty programs. According to Colloquy, Americans are enrolled in an average of 18 loyalty programs, which has ultimately led to more than $16 billion worth of loyalty reward points on the table in 2010. Use mobile to make program participation easier and more convenient. Instead of asking consumers to carry a reward card, offer the option to collect, store and access reward points on their mobile devices. This will give consumers more control over the program and encourage participation.

The opportunity to connect with customers like never before, through mobile marketing, is here. Yet it’s far from a science. The difference between retailers that stay ahead – and those that fall behind – is as simple as starting with the steps above, and not being afraid to seek out help when it’s needed.

Mike Romano is senior VP of mobile sales & services for SoundBite Communications, a supplier of mobile marketing and cloud-based, multi-channel communications solutions. He is a contributor to the SoundBite blog and can be reached at [email protected]

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D.Adsfaadsf says:
Mar-17-2012 02:52 am

As you read this and many other resources on the internet you will discover that there are potentially a confusing variety of definitions and uses of Critical Success Factors. Before you start the journey looking at CSFs it is important to realise that the specific factors relevant for you will vary from business to business and industry to industry. The key to using CSFs effectively is to ensure that your definition of a factor of your organizations activity which is central to its future will always apply. Therefore success in determining the CSFs for your organization is to determine what is central to its future and achievement of that future. This page is primarily written for students of management and business, to keep things simple for application in smaller organizations remember to only have 5-7 critical factors for YOUR organization, and I am sure one of those will be cashflow!

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