Sears Trades Charitable Contributions for Product Reviews

A recent study showed that 84% of millennials rely on the opinions of others before making a purchase. That’s just one in dozens of reports that underscore the importance of good online reviews.

Studies also tells us that cause-related shopping is on the rise. When quality and price are equal, 53% of shoppers said a a social purpose would sway them toward one company over another.

Sears has brilliantly combined these two concepts in their new advertising campaign. They call it the “Love/Hate: Share Your Thoughts, Send Some Love” project.

How it works is simple. A consumer posts a review (good or bad) about a product on the Sears website. Then they get to vote for one of the charities on a short list. Every other week, Sears donates money and eliminates the charity with the least number of votes. The charity left standing at the end of the campaign will receive $100,000.

Huffington Post Teams with Brands to Create New Content Sites

A couple of days ago, I said that the best way to keep traffic flowing to your website was to create solid usable and / or enjoyable content. Whether you’re selling a product, service or yourself, a static page of information won’t bring customers back over and over again. Content does that. Articles, short posts, videos, how-tos, tip sheets, photos, user submissions, games, stories, interviews — these are things customers come back for and search engine spiders, literally, eat them up.

The Huffington Post knows this, so they’re expanding their content reach by reaching out to brands who want to become publishers.

Study Shows Social Media Slowly Replacing Face-to-Face Customer Interaction

IBM sat down to talk one-on-one with 1,700 CEO’s in 64 countries to discuss changes in how they do business.

First, let’s marvel at the logistics behind that. All those busy people. All those languages. All that data. Seriously, I don’t think we appreciate the effort that goes into these things. Now, let’s move on to the results.

To the right you see a chart with a surprising message. The CEO’s were asked how they engage with their customers. The top line represents where they are today, the bottom line where they expect to be in 3 to 5 years.

Interest in Online Banking Shows Rise in Consumer Confidence

The internet is changing the way we do everything from shopping, to watching TV and reading the daily news. But as comfortable as we are giving our credit card to a retailer online, we’re still constantly hounded by those two monstrous words – Security and Privacy.

Will my credit card number end up in the hands of thieves? Will I become a victim of identity theft? Will my employer find out things about me I don’t want them to know?

These are legitimate issues and we have a reason to be concerned, but a new study by Rosetta shows that convenience is starting to trump worry.

YouTube Celebrates Seven Years of User Generated Content

May 20th was YouTube’s 7th birthday. Oh, our little baby is growing up fast, isn’t he? Seems like only yesterday he was learning how to walk without falling down, feed the animals without getting attacked. . . ride a bike without hitting a telephone pole.

What’s truly extraordinary about YouTube is that he’s growing at three times the rate of a normal child. Users upload 72 hours of video per minute these days which means you couldn’t watch every minute of every video even if you wanted to. Not that you would want to.

Sure, there are plenty of fun and helpful videos on YouTube but no matter how hard they try to lift their reputation, they’ll always be known as the home of stupid people doing stupid things. And that’s okay, because we all need a good laugh, even if it is at the expense of others.

IAB Reveals a Week in the Life of a Mobile Phone Shopper

Shopping via a mobile phone isn’t an everyday experience for most people, but already we can see patterns forming around the how, the why and the when.

Last month, IAB asked a group of mobile shoppers to keep a diary of their activity in a two week period. Here are some of the things they found out:

Home Usage

Here we see that almost half of all e-commerce interactions happened at home. They found that purchasing peaked in the late afternoon, early evening. 49% said they shopped while watching TV.

The dollar amounts aren’t too impressive, only 38% reported spending more than $21 a month. Most of the purchases were digital downloads with clothing and entertainment items coming in second.

Google’s Penguin Update Continues to Smack Small Business

Last week, a small business owner talked to me about his new marketing plan. It went something like this: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, MySpace, blog, blog outreach, YouTube videos, forum posting, SEO articles written and posted to Squidoo, every other article site then promoted on StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and every other appropriate sharing site.

He figured someone could do this in ten hours a week. I told him he was in over his head. I told him he needed to focus on a few keys areas to start — Facebook and Pinterest since he was selling a very visual and colorful product. I also told him to forget article marketing, it not only wouldn’t help his business but it might actually hurt. I don’t think he liked my advice.