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About C.B. Whittemore

About C.B. Whittemore

Flooring The Consumer History

Flooring The Consumer is a marketing blog about improving the consumer experience, particularly in flooring.

The blog was launched in June 2006. It is featured as a case study on this site with more detail on the Simple Marketing Blog.

If you're curious about our archives from 2006 to 2011, visit Flooring The Consumer.

Flooring The Consumer Explores Getting Found In-Store and Online, aka the Customer Retail Experience

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Best Business Marketing Blogs of 2012 Include Flooring The Consumer!


Best of BuyerZone Business Marketing Blog Recipient

I'm so proud!

BuyerZone has just published its list of The 20 Best Business Marketing Blogs of 2012 and Flooring The Consumer is included in postion #7!

Here is the complete list of the BuyerZone Best of the Blogs 2012. I am in amazing company and delighted to be listed alongside several dear marketing blog friends!

1. Lee Odden for TopRank Online Marketing Blog

2. Shawn Collins for Affiliate Tip

3. Ann Handley for MarketingProfs Daily Fix

4. Drew McLellan for Drew's Marketing Minute

5. Tara Jacobsen for Marketing Artfully

6. Christina Kerley for CK's (B2B) Blog

7. Flooring The Consumer

8. Derek Johnson for Tatango SMS Marketing Blog

9. Matt West for The Genius Blog

10. Michael Brenner for B2B Marketing Insider

11. Dan Garfield for Orange Soda Internet Marketing Blog

12. Brian DeKoning for Vital Design Blog

13. Carol Flammer for mRelevance Blog

14. David Fortino for BlogNotions Marketer Blog

Honorary Mentions to:
16. Valeria Maltoni and Conversation Agent
17. Douglas Karr and Marketing Technology Blog
18. Rohit Barghava and Influential Marketing Blog
19. Charlie Cook's Small Business Blog

Congratulations to all of us! Special congratulations to Lee, Ann, Drew, CK, Michael, Valeria, Douglas and Rohit! 

Thank you, Sylvia Rosen and BuyerZone!

Most importantly, thank you, dear readers! I hope you will explore the entire list and discover new marketing blog finds to inspire you for 2012...

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Retail Experience in the News - 2/24/12

Retail Experience in the News
Here are the Retail Experience in the News links and resources for Friday 2/24/12. I'd love to hear which you find most interesting!

Retail Experience Ideas

Preparing for Store 3.0

How JC Penney could transform the way America shops


Retail Experience and the Consumer

Affluents, Coupons and the implications of a Female-driven marketplace

Macy's Mantra: put the customers at the center of everything

Consumers create the basis for growth strategies: Retail predictions for 2012


Integrating Offline/Online Customer Experience

Are mobile bar codes a fad or here to stay?

TrendWatching Briefing for February 2012 about Point-Know-Buy. Why infolusty, spontaneity-loving consumers will embrace instant visual information gratification 

How to integrate mobile into the retail experience: The Smartphone Shopping Experience Needs to Come Inside the Store

The click of heels: How online shoping in changing the face of fashion. Online shopping for fashion is no longer about deals. Now, it's driven by convenience and personalization

For previous issues of Retail Experience in the News, click on this link [and also this one].

Consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer Blog!!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!




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Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction: 3 Lessons From Ace Hardware

Buy Fresh Buy Local
The local retail experience fascinates me. As much as customers use online tools for research and even purchase, local resources matter. Particularly if those local retailers recognize and respond to their needs in a relevant way that - ideally - integrates the online experience with the in-store one and generates customer satisfaction.

An article about Ace Hardwarea retail buying group of 4,500 independently owned hardware stores - titled Local Hooks, Positioning Spark Ace Hardware Loyalty - caught my attention for that reason. It offers 3 lessons for building loyalty and customer satisfaction while focusing on local markets.

Ace Hardware's Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction Lessons:

1. Have a clear sense of mission and how that translates to your customers' lives.

2. Develop an intensely local flavor to create connection with your local community. In addition to building relationships, this means that you offer products and services that are customized to meet the needs, desires and preferences of your local market.

[Note: another aspect of this comes to life via the My Macy's Initiative. See The Macy’s mantra: Put the customer at the center of everything.]

3. Speak to customers in a personal manner - both in terms of tone [i.e., make it sounds like it comes from a human being who cares] and customization. Use your data analytics - perhaps not to the same extent as is described in NYT's How Companies Learn Your Secrets - to recognize your customer's purchases so you can thank them and create relevant offers to entine them to return.

How do you see strengthening customer loyalty and satisfaction? How do you promote your local connections? What successes have you had?




P.S.: I referred to Ace Hardware in a previous article titled Local Insights & Brand Experience: Ace Hardware, Scott's Miracle-Gro, Best Buy.

Image Credit: Institute for Responsible Technology - Local Sources


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Retail Experience in the News - 2/17/12

Retail Experience in the News
Happy Friday! Here are the retail experience links that caught my eye this week ending 2/17/12:

Retail Experience Ideas

How to analyze your ecommerce competitors

Office Depot Declutters, Helps Shoppers Find Their Way

Thou Shalt Covet What Thy Neighbor Covets


Retail Experience and the Consumer

Women's influence on purchase decisions on the rise

Women influencing more purchase decisions

The Macy's mantra: put the customer at the center of everthing

Get inside their heads: 12 factors that impace whether customers click 'buy'

Integrating Offline/Online Customer Experience

6 innovative ecommerce uses of youtube

A Guide to Pinterest and Moms: popular social site to visit BEFORE heading to retailer site

The Shopping Science Behind Lucky's Revamp


For previous issues of Retail Experience in the News, click on this link [and also this one].

Consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer Blog!!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!



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Get More Customers? Offer Opt-in Email, Text Messages

Bad Texting
For organizations wanting to get more customers, I recommend offering visitors and customers the option to opt-in to email and text messages rather than automatically enroll them in communications from you.

Although this seems like a no-brainer to me, let me explain my logic.

Over the holidays, I narrowly escaped getting subscribed to text messages from Sears as I completed a purchase. My only salvation was asking the somewhat surly cashier about a pre-checked box on the digital credit card signature device.

Imagine the damage Sears would have done to its relationship with me had I not realized its stupidity! I am not subscribed to any kind of texting service through my phone carrier. [Many people in this country aren't either.] Which means that for each of Sears' unsolicited text messages, I would have been charged money.

For the privilege of paying for Sears' messages, I would have gotten increasingly angrier since I never asked to receive text messages and the text messages couldn't possibly have any relevance to me.

As it is, I consider Sears' understanding of its customers and appreciation for digital marketing tools to be naive - at best. However, having escaped, I'll simply tread cautiously around them and remember forever what they were willing to do to a customer.

Imagine a different scenario. As I checked out, the cashier invited me to receive either text messages or emails [my choice] about upcoming sales relevant to my purchase. I could opt-in to receive daily, weekly or monthly messages with discounts available only for those customers who opted-in.

I would have willingly signed up for the monthly email communication - to check it out.

In other words, as it relates to interactions with customers, it's critical for retailers and businesses to:
  • Ask permission to communicate with them on a regular basis
  • Explain what's in it for them
  • Offer them the opportunity to easily remove themselves
From a digital perspective, a marvelous solution for getting more customers comes from using website landing pages which invite visitors to learn more about offers such as signing up or opting in to email [or text] communications and provide them with tangible reasons for doing so.

In a real-life retail environment, the same can be accomplished by explaining verbally the benefits associated with the invitation.

Interestingly, in doing so you invite customers and visitors to provide you with feedback and perspective - which in turn might help you fine-tune your offerings.

What's your reaction to being duped into email or text messages? What have you found works best in convincing customers to opt-in to your communications?

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Retail Experience in the News: 2/10/12


Retail Experience in the NewsHere are the links and resources that caught my attention this week ending 2/10/12 related to the retail experience. Please let me know which you find most intriguing!


Retail Experience Ideas

12 Truths to Guide Retailing in 2012, slideshare presentation from Denise Lee Yohn based on NRF's Retail BIG Show, January 2012 

NRF12: Five traits retailers must possess to be future proof

NRF experts look at retail trends

Why JC Penney will never be great again

Retail Experience and the Consumer

How to make your customers love you more 

Customer-centric Retail Model Starts in marketing 


Integrating Offline/Online Retail Experience

Walgreens Enlists Paid Social-Media Warriors in Battle With Express Scripts 

How to handle a negative review online

Big Banks struggle to help customers on Twitter

Ralph Lauren: Tres geek - It's about using the right technology to tell a story

For previous issues of Retail Experience in the News, click on this link [and also this one].

Consider subscribing to Flooring The Consumer Blog!!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!



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What Goes Into a Thoughtful Retail Experience?

Thoughtful retail experience from Zipcar
I admire retail thoughtfulness, the kind of careful attention to details that communicates to customers that they matter and that translates into a talk-worthy retail experience. Zipcar and Nufloors Coquitlam understand this as do the two retailers featured in this NRF2012 article titled How to make your customers love you more.

Thoughtful Retail Experience: Nufloors Coquitlam

During my Surfaces 2012 Marketing and Selling to Flooring and Stone Power Consumers (aka Women!) presentation, I shared the case study of Nufloors Coquitlam, a flooring store in BC, which epitomizes a thoughtful retail experience. 

Here are a few of the details that General Manager Cynthia Dean pays attention to:
  • Creating an inviting store appearance that reinforces: ‘We Sell Fashion’ 
  • Cleaning the carpets on a monthly basis
  • Steam cleaning the bathroom grout lines
  • Putting away flooring samples consistently
  • Ensuring clear sight lines to the back of the store
  • Banishing bits of paper stuck to the walls
  • Making sure that price tags are neat
  • Offering large umbrellas by the front door for customers to stay dry
  • Having a bowl of red and green apples and fresh flowers at the reception desk
  • Creating a comfortable seating area
  • Welcoming store visitors and offering them coffee & water
  • Keeping the parking lot tidy
  • In the spring and summer, growing flowers in the pots outside the front door
  • Selecting giveaway Nufloor pens that don't fall apart
  • Offering a chocolate bar for completing an instore survey
It's amazing how much customers appreciate thoughtful touches. Just think about your recent retail experiences...

Thoughtful Retail Experience: Zipcar

My friend Gary Petersen, who lives in New York City, sent me the following email about Zipcar.

Zipcar IKEA parking
Zipcar - not sure you know about them being a suburban dweller, but the car less (and small carbon footprint urban dwellers) love it.

Basically the premise is one joins the Zipcar club, $50 year, and you can rent cars on line for specific periods of time - two hours to two days. (Not a long time long distance opportunity, but that is not their niche.)

You get a card with a infra red reader on it, and you order the specific car you want, on line, from many venues which are garages, or parking lots. Within a 5 minute walk from our building are 5 locations. No paper work, no waiting in line, nada. You call up 30 minutes in advance, go to the lot, wand the reader on the car and off you go. They pay for gas and insurance. Now it has its own little things you have to deal with, but for me it's great. 
Now the great marketing: this insert [pictured above] on a notice from them describing reserved parking at IKEA for Zipcar. This is a major problem for manhattan dwellers - if you go to Ikeat how do you get the stuff home? Zipcar ties the short term rental with easy parking, genius!!

I agree this is genius! Zipcar thoughtfully considers its customers' or members' pain points and addresses them in a remarkable way that gets them talking about it. It makes me wish I weren't a suburban dweller and had reason to use them regularly.

Which are the little details you focus on that help you deliver a thoughtful retail experience?

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Retail Experience in the News - 2/3/12


Retail Experience in the NewsHere are the links and resources that caught my attention this week ending 2/3/12 related to the retail experience. I hope you find them as intriguing as I did!

For the record, according to Punxsutawney Phil, 6 more weeks of winter...

Retail Experience Ideas

Experimenting with concepts: a tour of NYC retail also from @WDFlooring @CBWhittemore a little different but in your in NYC two awesome boutique stores are LV Wood and BDDW and Blu Dot #greatretailinNYC

Retail Experience and the Consumer

Kohl’s: The Best Department Store for Customer Service

Integrating Offline/Online Retail Experiences

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