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AAFES names civilian as CEO

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — Three weeks after being named the first civilian director/CEO in the nearly 117-year history of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Tom Shull officially took the reins Thursday of the $10 billion military retailer. Shull replaced the Exchange’s last uniformed Commander, Brig. Gen. Fran Hendricks.

With the official signing of the paperwork, the Exchange has been disestablished as a major command and remains a joint nonappropriated fund instrumentality of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force under the jurisdiction of the chief of staff of the U.S. Army and the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force.

Shull served in a variety of positions in the U.S. Army, including infantry company commander and assignments at the White House and National Security Council. He has served as CEO of Wise Foods, Hanover Direct, Barney’s New York and was most recently CEO of Meridian Ventures.

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Survey: Most big-box shoppers believe their feedback doesn’t matter

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Toronto — A study of big-box retail consumers, released Thursday, found that only two in five consumers believe that retailers value their input, and just 29% believe it is acted upon.

According to the Consumer Insights Panel survey conducted by customer experience management solution provider Empathica Inc., 85% of the 6,500 consumers surveyed have provided some form of feedback to big-box retailers, yet only 46% believe that brands actually use this feedback to make constructive changes to the customer experience.

In addition, only 52% believe that feedback is shared with individual locations – even though the majority of consumers (81%) feel that feedback should not only be shared with local managers, but with all of the brand’s employees.

The shortfall of confidence in brands’ willingness to implement changes rooted in customer feedback is a serious concern for retailers, said Empathica. In fact, 83% of consumers agree or strongly agree that they would be more loyal to a brand if they knew the brand would act on their feedback.

“Our research proves that consumers really do want to provide feedback and engage in conversations with brands,” said Dr. Gary Edwards, chief customer officer, Empathica. “But at the same time, they are clearly disappointed by not having any visibility into what happens afterwards. Feedback remains a one-way street and what consumers are yearning for is two-way dialogue. They want to know that their feedback is being acted upon in ways that will drive meaningful changes to the customer experience at the locations they frequent.”

The Empathica Consumer Insights Panel also revealed key insights into the motivations and delivery methods that drive customer feedback. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming two-thirds of consumers prefer to share feedback online. The next most popular feedback delivery method was in person, but this was reported by only 13% of consumers.

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Study ranks Macy’s, Sephora and Michael Kors as Facebook ‘geniuses’

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Macy’s, Sephora, Michael Kors and Lancome were ranked as Facebook “geniuses” in the second annual L2 Facebook IQ Index, developed in partnership with Buddy Media, a social enterprise software firm.

The Index measured the “aptitude” of 100 luxury and prestige brands across beauty, fashion, specialty retail, and watches & jewelry on Facebook. The study—authored by Scott Galloway, New York University Professor of Marketing and experts from his L2 firm (a think tank for digital innovation), and Buddy Media—ranks the brands’ Facebook efforts across four criteria, including size & growth, engagement, programming, and integration. Each brand was scored against more than 350 qualitative and quantitative data points, and assigned a Facebook IQ ranking of Genius, Gifted, Average, Challenged, or Feeble.

“Facebook investors have shifted the measurement stick: from promise to performance,” said Galloway. “Similarly, the marketing and digital professionals at prestige organizations charged with building and engaging communities on the world’s biggest platform, will face heightened expectations and scrutiny.”

Each brand was scored against more than 350 qualitative and quantitative

The L2 Facebook IQ Top 10 remains dominated by retailers and beauty brands that have been adept at facilitating higher rates of engagement via user-generated content and local page posts.
Key findings of the second annual L2 study include:

• While community growth is up, engagement across prestige communities has declined, with the average interaction rate or the percentage of the community liking or commenting on brand posts declining almost 50% year-over-year;

• The move to the Timeline interface in and of itself does not appear to be a growth driver; Prestige brands added 125% more fans in the 50 days prior to the Timeline launch, than they did in the 50 days after the mandatory switch to the new interface;

• More than 20% of prestige brands still do not engage in any two-way conversation and one-third prohibit fan posts on their Facebook walls; and

• 41% of brands now maintain at least one local country page; local Facebook pages have grown at double the rate of Global and U.S. prestige communities and register 50% higher engagement.

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