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Multiple Balances, One Gift Card: Facebook Introduces a New Piece of Plastic

facebook gift cardAll hail the guy who invented the gift card. These nifty bits of plastic allow you to buy what you want with someone else’s money. It doesn’t get better than that.

The only downside to gift cards is that you have to carry them in your wallet, remember to use them and mentally keep track of how much is left on each one. Facebook has a solution – sort of.

Introducing the Facebook Card, which isn’t what you think it is when you hear the name.

The Facebook Card is a gift card that has nothing to do with Facebook except that you buy it through the site. Here’s how it works:

Experts Predict 14 Billion Dollar Increase in Mobile Commerce in 2013

sephora to goMobile has been very, very good to beauty product retailer Sephora. Speaking at Mobile Marketer’s Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2013 conference, exec Johnna Marcus noted that the company saw a 167% increase in mobile orders last year, a 75% rise in mobile traffic and more than 50% of their email opens are now coming in from mobile devices.

Their goal is to develop mobile as a consumer’s personal shopper delivering reviews, keeping track of preferred brands and highlighting hot, new items on an on-going basis. They’re also highly invested in the concept of a mobile wallet that integrates with the Sephora gift card. And see that scan button in the upper corner of the app? That allows consumers to scan barcodes on in-store packages or items in their girlfriend’s purse in order to instantly see reviews and buying options. It’s a make-up lovers dream.

Consumers Don’t Trust Reviews But They’re Swayed by Them Anyway

shandwick - consumer review 2Like most people who shop online, I pay attention to the reviews posted about an item before I make the decision to buy. It seems like the prudent thing to do except for one thing – reviews are notoriously inaccurate. I was looking at laptops last week and my first choice had reviews that ranged from “Excellent computer for the price” to “Piece of garbage” with little in between.

In the past week, I’ve seen a review on a book the reviewer didn’t read and I saw a DVD review where a woman gave it 1 star because she bought the wrong item. Add in all the phony, paid for positive reviews and you definitely can’t believe what you read. Still, a recent study by Weber Shandwick shows that 65% of potential consumer electronics buyers were inspired to consider a different brand after reading a review.

Amazon Matches Record High for Holiday Shopping Satisfaction

Amazon made it through another holiday season with big bucks and a whole lot of happy customers. According to ForeSee’s annual  Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index, Amazon matched their record high with an 88 out of 100, the best score on the chart.

26 other online retailers came in at 80 or above, which is a very impressive score. They include, and Vistaprint. But for the average retailer, customer satisfaction appears to have hit a sticking point. Look at this comparison of the rise in online spending versus the rise in customer satisfaction.

foresee customer satisfaction

Makes me wonder what it is we’re missing. If Amazon is only an 88, what would be a 100 in customer’s minds? A personal shopper that does all the work for you? Free merchandise? Items made to order? Cracking the 90 spot doesn’t seem possible.

eBay Now Holiday Express App Does Everything Except Open the Gift For You

ebay noweBay, a company not traditionally known for its personalized customer service, is turning that thought around with their new shopping app eBay Now.

If you live in San Francisco or New York City, you can use your phone to buy just about anything and have it in your hands within an hour. Not wild enough? For the holidays, they’ll include a roll of exclusive limited-edition gift wrap from designer Jonathan Adler.

Imagine this scenario, you’re at the office Christmas party and your co-worker unexpectedly hands you a lovely basket of coffee and treats. You didn’t buy her anything, but no problem – you excuse yourself, rush into a bathroom stall, whip our your phone, pick a similarly priced item from eBay now and before the party is over, you’ve reciprocated appropriately. Sheldon Cooper would be so proud.

More Ho Ho Holiday Shopping Facts to Help You Finish Out the Year

671280_christmas__boxThe clock is running out for holiday shoppers but RetailMeNot says that 55% of consumers are only half way done with their shopping . With that in mind, here are the results of a few surveys that could help you reel in those last minute customers.

Fast Free Delivery

We’ve heard this one before but it’s still a huge factor in online shopping, especially around the holidays. ShopRunner says:

77% of consumers would spend more online and less in stores if free 1-2 day shipping was offered.  Additionally, having more faster free shipping options would drive 65% of shoppers to procrastinate and put off making purchases longer than usual.

Holiday Shopping: 36 Percent Have Yet to Get Started

This time, I truly am done talking about Cyber Monday and Black Friday but that doesn’t mean we’re done with holiday shopping – like 36% of Americans, we’re just getting started! polled your average Americans to discover their true feelings about shopping during this time of the year. Almost half said they were three-quarters finished or completely finished. (Count me in that group if I can just resist the urge for the rest of the month!). That still leaves plenty of shoppers who are searching for deals online and off.

People with gifts in hand said they mostly shopped at big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target. 39% bought gifts online (you know I did!) and 32% when for department stores such as Sears and Macy’s. Only 28% picked a retail specialty chain such as Toys “R” Us and Best Buy.