No Hell Here: The Heaven of Online Shopping

I've been shopping online for decades, for both myself and for gifts. At work, I look at online stores with a critical eye for hours every day, assessing navigation, shopping carts and ease-of-ordering. My take on shopping via the Internet is very multi-dimensional. Although I find some things that don't work, I find plenty more that does.

Although I too have occasionally experienced what Delia Ephron called out as the "Hell of Online Shopping," in her opinion piece for the New York Times, I'm not even tempted in the slightest way to stop shopping online.

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OMG OMG! I got my f@*$!%g Urban Outfitters catalog!

I’ve been knee deep in catalogs for over 20 years. I can guarantee that I get more catalogs than any consumer. As co-founder of Catalogs.com, that’s part of my job description: order catalogs, read catalogs, know catalogs.

Yesterday, I dug into my 1-1/2 foot pile with three days of catalog mail. I love looking at catalogs, and I usually work through the pile, top to bottom. But this time, fueled with the day’s media buzz, I had a mission: find the Urban Outfitters 2012 Christmas catalog.

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Of rings and wrenches: Sears perfect holiday image

I love the holidays. Not all the craziness at the malls, or the over-stretched schedules or the just-one-too-many parties, of course.

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What I really love is holiday advertising. I look forward to the sparkling, snow-sprinkled, green and red catalog covers. I love the festive website landing pages. I actually open all the creative newsletters and sales ads that fill my email box. I really appreciate the creative effort that goes into making a retailer's holiday shopping message stand out. The "season" is the perfect time to step up branding.

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What (really) not to buy on Black Friday

If you have your car gassed up, your lawn chair ready and your shopping-mall-warrior-gear laid out, you may think you know where we are going with this.

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What is a Linkedin click worth to you? Loai bets $1

Have you, even for a minute, doubted the power of social media for your business?

As of this afternoon, one of Loai’s bosses is into him for over $24,000. I bet he (or she) is a Linkedin convert now. And I’m not a proponent of betting in the workplace.

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Green is Good: Office Depot's eco-friendly delivery is office friendly too

One of the things that really bothers me about the aftermath of shopping are the plastic shells, cardboard and styrofoam that come along with everything I buy. Actually, the pile of what I actually bought, compared to the pile of packaging materials, is way out of proportion.

I recycle as much of the waste as possible, but I always have the feeling that it is just so ... unnecessary.

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When location isn't everything ... and when it is

We just returned to the office from a major industry event, the Internet Retailer Conference 2012. Even though the conference is focused on internet retail, the first thing everyone asks each other is, “Where are you located?”

This is an odd question, because it doesn’t matter where our office is located. We are an internet company, like most of the other exhibitors at this conference.

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Dealing with narcissists: know what to look for in an interview

Narcissists are great interviewees. I know from experience. I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates for positions ranging from sales to IT to administrative over the sixteen years Catalogs.com has been in business. Reviewing resumes, conducting preliminary phone screenings and then conducting interviews is hard work. It is time-consuming, exhausting, and often frustrating.

The narcissist makes my job easier. Dealing with narcissists makes my job more difficult.

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Is your Facebook password on your resume?

“Hand over your Facebook and Twitter passwords.”

That’s what some eager interviewees are being told during the process of applying for a job – and what has media buzzing about privacy and employment issues.

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Marketers with an interest in Pinterest: think eye-candy

Lately, “pinners” rule in the social media world.

Pinners are the enthusiastic and creative people who grow their individual Pinterest presence by creating “boards” (think old-fashioned bulletin boards) and filling them with “pins.” Pins are images found around the web, especially from blogs, or shared from the pins of other pinners. Content that is off-limits includes right-protected web images, copyrighted or adult material, and everything on Facebook.

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Top 10 reasons to head to the IRCE Conference

top10Conference.jpgIt’s the time of year when thousands of catalogers and e-commerce retail web stores are making plans for the Internet Retailing Conference & Exhibition 2012: scrambling for rooms in over-booked hotels, trolling the Web for reasonable airfares and juggling work and family schedules. Not to mention spending a ton of money. Our booth is reserved - #544 - and we are beginning to tell our clients that they should head to Chicago because this is the biggest e-commerce show in the country.

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Buying product kudos will undermine shopper confidence

I get hundreds of emails with hundreds of people sending me “stuff,” but when a very accomplished doctor sends me something … my interest is certainly piqued.

The New York Times article, "For $2 a Star, an Online Retailer gets 5-Star Product Reviews," was intriguing enough to make the doctor - a relative not particularly interested in e-retailing - send it straight to me.

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No Words Needed: December Catalog Recycling

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No Words Needed: December Catalog Shopping

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Top 10 Ways to make catalog marketing work

As a business owner, the move into a catalog channel can open doors … or open a hole in your marketing budget. Good planning and sound catalog marketing practices can maximize your chance of success in the catalog market.

As a marketer with decades of working with catalogers, and helping to market catalogs, I have observed both opportunities and challenges with print catalogs. There is more competition in the retail arena due to the explosion of multiple channels – radio, television, internet . There is also more opportunity. The challenges of making a print catalog one part of a cohesive multi-channel marketing effort are creatively energizing.

Print catalogs are not dead; they have just found a new place in the total marketing plan, for niche, mid-sized and large businesses.

Here are ten catalog marketing tips to help businesses get the best out of every catalog dollar.

10. Keep it focused

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Make sure your catalog is focused on the products you really want to sell through that channel. While background is nice, and branding is important, make sure the message in your catalog marketing is focused on the product.

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