Window Shopping with Friends

Started my day in NYC yesterday with a business meeting near Herald Square.  I love NYC.  The people, the buzz, the energy; all good from my perspective.  And then of course there is the never ending stream of places to eat and shop.  And yes, NYC is very expensive, no doubt about that.  Brought lunch yesterday for $13.50.  This consisted of a nice sandwich, chips and an ice tea.  $13.50?  Really?

Later in the day, I walked over to Grand Central Station to catch a train to Greenwich, CT.  More on that in a bit.  This is the 100 year anniversary of GCT.  Happens to be one of the most magnificent train stations in the world.


An amazing place.  And also now a destination site for retail and commerce.  All sorts of stores there now including Apple’s unique location right in the terminal.  On my walk to GCT, I also noticed so many retail stores that were just buzzing with activity, sales, entertainment outside to get you inside; innovative retailers doing what it takes to get us to spend a buck.

Next I hopped a train and headed to Greenwich to meet up with some old friends.  Took a stroll up Greenwich Avenue, which to say the least is a high end place to shop with many of the highest end retailers such as Tiffany’s and Saks being open for business.  Spent a few hours with my friends Maria, Fred and Terry.  (Maria, if you are reading this today, thanks for making it happen)  Shared some stories, got caught up on the last 15 years, laughed really hard before everyone headed back home.  When you get a chance to work with great people and share successes, the bond that you create lives in infamy.  It does not matter how much time passes between visits; once the ball gets rolling it is like no time past at all 🙂

One of the many challenges for retailers is the rental/ownership cost of these physical store locations as well as the size of the stores themselves, where inventory and choices may be limited due to space constraints, store layout and other restraining forces.  So every store owner has to deal with making sure they are turning their inventory at that physical location to cover there overhead and make a buck.  Today, most retailers also have webstores  that are open 24/7 and they use a variety of different techniques to incent you to visit and buy.  The commerce evolution continues as savvy retailers blur the line between physical and on-line stores, making your shopping experience even more compelling and creating loyalty through differentiating technology.  Well, that is about to change again.

EBay Inc is launching virtual stores called “shoppable windows” this month that the e-commerce company hopes will help retailers generate more sales from their existing physical store networks. The first four of these screens will open from June 8 through July 7 in busy parts of New York City, such as the lower east side and Soho. They will sell 30 items from Kate Spade Saturday, a new fashion brand launched this year by apparel retailer Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc.


The new screens measure about 9 feet across and 2 feet (0.6 meter) high and will appear on the front windows of closed stores. Shoppers will be able to touch the screens to order and have products delivered to them within an hour via courier. Payment will be accepted by the couriers through PayPal Here, a mobile payment service developed by eBay.

This is the latest effort by eBay to work more closely with large retailers that are looking to reach more online and mobile shoppers. The company has attracted some large retailers, such as Target Corp, to its online marketplace, while developing mobile shopping technology for other retailers such as Macy’s Inc.

EBay’s “shoppable windows” are an extension of the shift to mobile shopping. For Fifth & Pacific, the windows will help launch its new Kate Spade Saturday brand without opening new physical stores, at least initially, according to Chief Executive William McComb.

“This gives us the ability to produce more from our retail space,” McComb said. “My nickname for it is the Wall as a Mall.”  McComb said he is considering putting shoppable windows in small Juicy Couture stores that will offer about 200 different shoes to buy. The company may also use the windows in Kate Spade New York stores to sell home furnishings, bedding, linens and towels.

“We would never be able to fit all those products in a store in the traditional way,” McComb said. “These things would typically require an extra 10,000 square feet of store space. But through partnerships like this eBay one we could do this through stores that are 2,000 square feet.”

Full article can be found at

Amazing stuff on an amazing day.



Car Wrecks

In corporations throughout the world, there is a awful lot of talk – We are going to do this, we are going to do that.  Sometimes it actually happens.  It does so in organizations that are focused on results, have a clear understanding of market conditions, recognize where they can win, where they can establish new markets and where they can create value and growth.

Some organizations have the best of intentions and want to walk the talk, but do they really know how?  Are they able to deliver against the talk?  Are they able to live up to their customer expectations, especially in the many markets that are impacted by rapidly changing technologies, expanding channels, customer expectations and intense competition?  It is tough out there and it is getting tougher.

Think about RIM, the makers of Blackberry.  Here is their stock chart for the last 5 years:


Ouch.  A bit of an uptick recently but that one hurts.  Once the darling of stocks and consumers, now an afterthought.  Happened really quickly.

Now let’s take a look at Ebay.

ebay price

Nice.   Vision, focus and outstanding execution. Well done.

Over the course of these disparate journeys, people have been involved every step of the way.  Why is one company successful yet the other, once successful, struggles to regain it’s momentum in a market that has changed significantly since their heyday?  What will happen to today’s high flyers once the technology shifts yet again and the market needs and demands change?

So many factors and variables involved in walking the talk.  But the basic tenets are the right vision, seeing the market clearly, knowing how you are differentiated and superior execution of the plan.  Holding your best and brightest accountable but also empowering them to do great things and recognizing value created, not politics, not puckering, no insecure leaders and most importantly no senior managers that waste your time.

Some senior managers tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear.  Some senior managers probe and question under the umbrella of “I am here to help you” or “I am trying to learn” or “I can help”, when their real intention is to find anything that might need improvement and highlight these 5-10% items over the 90% of great stuff that happens every day.  I refer to these senior managers as “Car Wrecks” because they are the ones rubber necking what is wrong, instead of focusing on the positives and building on those.  These “Car Wreck” managers delight in finding something wrong and then jumping to rapid, non-fact based decisions that are highly punitive and are totally misaligned to the business.  Where instead of using the mistake as a learning experience, they want to expose a mistake through extreme disciplinary action, creating an environment of fear and a lack of willingness to take risk.  Can you imagine working in an environment where mistakes are frowned upon because you would never want to get on that managers “Bad” list?  Well that will certainly incent risk taking and thinking outside the box, won’t it?  Not.

So, do your best to stay away from “Car Wreck” managers.  There is only one car they are trying to wreck – yours.


Etail – The Revolution #4

Last of a series for this week.  So far we have looked at a number of interesting consumer etail trends plus solutions from eBay, Paypal and Facebook.  Today we will take a look at some other solutions from American Express.

But first, our final song of the week with Revolution in the title:

“Revolution rock, it is a brand new rock – A bad, bad rock, this here revolution rock – Careful how you move, Mac, you dig me in me back – And I’m so pilled up that I rattle – I have got the sharpest knife – So I cut the biggest slice – I have no time to do battle

Everybody smash up your seats – And rock to this brand new beat – This here music mash up the nation – This here music cause a sensation -Tell your ma, tell your pa – Everything’s gonna be all right – Can’t you feel it? – Don’t ignore it – Gonna be alright

Revolution rock, I am in a state of shock – So bad, bad rock, this here revolution rock – Careful how you slide, Clyde, all you did was glide – And you poured your beer in me hat – With my good eye on the beat, living on fixation street – I ain’t got no time for that ‘

Revolution Rock – The Clash

Take a look at what American Express is doing in social, letting cardmembers sync their cards with Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook. When American Express card holders sync their cards with Foursquare, they receive location-based deals and offers directly to their AmEx cards. Those who sync their card with Facebook, as part of the “Link Like Love” program, see deals in their newsfeed on Facebook, based on which companies they talk about and like. Consumers that sync their cards with Twitter, get savings loaded directly to their cards when they tweet using special-offer hashtags. The “Link Like Love” program lets brands and retailers tie sales back to efforts on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, using the AmEx application programming interface.

Who doesn’t love a good deal? Twitter and American Express have partnered to offer special deals, discounts and coupons in 140-characters or less. If you’re an AMEX customer and a Twitter user, you’ve got $$ savings at your fingertips.

Visit to sync your AMEX card with your Twitter account. Then, you just have to tweet merchant-specific hashtags to load up coupon-less deals onto your card, which will become active the next time you shop at that particular merchant.  AMEX cardholders will see the coupon applied as a discount to their statement within days.

American Express® Cardmembers across the country can discover exclusive specials on foursquare. Connect any eligible Amex Card to your foursquare account today for couponless, hassle-free savings. #1 – SYNC: Go to & securely connect your Card to foursquare to find exclusive Amex specials at foursquare venues.

Amazing stuff.  Enjoy the weekend.


Etail – The Revolution #3

In our continuing series, today we will look at more very cool stuff that is making mobile etailing huge.

In keeping with the theme however, we continue with songs that include the word Revolution:

‘Yeah – Well you can bump and grind – It is good for your mind – Well you can twist and shout let it all hang out – But you won’t fool the children of the revolution – No you won’t fool the children of the revolution, no no no

Well you can tear a plane in the falling rain – I drive rolls royce ‘cos it’s good for my voice – But you won’t fool the children of the revolution – No you won’t fool the children of the revolution, no no no – yeah! – But you won’t fool the children of the revolution
No you won’t fool the children of the revolution – No you won’t fool the children of the revolution – No you won’t fool the children of the revolution – No way, yeah, wow!”

Children of the Revolution – T-Rex

Yesterday we took a look at game changing solutions from eBay and Paypal.  Today, let’s take a look at what Facebook is doing.

Facebook Credits is a payment system that offers a safe, easy and fast way to pay for digital and virtual goods in games and apps across Facebook.

  • Facebook users trust the Facebook brand and feel comfortable storing their payment information with Facebook and buying with their Facebook credentials.
  • Facebook Credits is available internationally and supports 80+ payment methods in 50+ countries around the world and we continue to actively expand our footprint.
  • Finally Facebook credits provides a consistent way for users to buy on Facebook across mobile, desktop, games as well as non-game apps.

Facebook Credits are a virtual currency you can use to buy virtual goods in any games or apps of the Facebook platform that accept payments. You can purchase Facebook Credits directly from within an app using your credit card, PayPal, mobile phone and many other local payment methods.

Facebook announced in February 2012 that it had partnered with a number of the largest mobile operators, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, T-Mobile USA, Verizon and Vodafone, to enable users to make Facebook Credit purchases via mobile operator billing (i.e. see the charge appear on their mobile phone bill).

The Facebook ecosystem is alive and well and ready for some money.


ETail – The Revolution #2

We covered some incredible growth trends and customer expectations yesterday in The Revolution #1.  Today we will look at some of the companies and applications changing the world.

Just to get your day started here is a little diddy:

“Don’t you know – They’re talkin’ bout a revolution – It sounds like a whisper – Don’t you know – They’re talkin’ about a revolution -It sounds like a whisper – While they’re standing in the welfare lines – Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation – Wasting time in the unemployment lines – Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Poor people gonna rise up – And get their share – Poor people gonna rise up – And take what’s theirs – Don’t you know – You better run, run, run – Oh I said you better – Run, run, run”

Talkin’ Bout a RevolutionTracy Chapman

Take a look at what E-Bay is doing.  eBay‘s latest app combines two of America’s favorite pastimes: shopping and watching TV.

Originally a feature of the eBay for iPad app, Watch With eBay debuted as a standalone app that will let viewers browse in real time products related to their favorite TV programs. Fashion buffs, for example, will easily be able to find and shop for clothes made by designers featured at a red carpet event airing live on TV.

This unique live viewing experience is made possible by a zip code-based guide embedded within the app, according to Engadget. PCWorld explains further that Watch With eBay syncs up with your area’s local cable programming schedules, enabling viewers to become consumers with a tap of a finger. The viewer simply chooses the show she’s watching from a list on the app to see available products related to the show.

The new app also offers a feature called Shop Like a Star, which lets TV, film, sports and music fans view and purchase items recommended by their favorite celebrities.

And now check out Paypal.  Available to global retailers today, PayPal Access gives consumers the ability to sign up and sign in to participating websites with just their PayPal usernames and passwords. PayPal has more than 100 million accounts in 190 markets worldwide.

Unlike identity solutions currently on the market, PayPal Access provides everything consumers and merchants need to create an account and complete a transaction – including user verification, shipping information, and payment details. By helping retailers simplify login and account creation, PayPal Access can help increase conversion and loyalty on merchants’ websites. Research shows that nearly one out of every four consumers abandon their shopping carts when they’re asked to register an account.

These innovative companies are breaking down the barriers to e-commerce in a huge way.  More to come as we further explore this global phenomenon.