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Afterlife Well Spent: Zombies Take Over Sears.com

You may think of Sears as a stuffy, old fashioned brand, but they’re working hard to change your opinion with a brand new social shopping site and zombies!

Sears has outdone themselves with a Halloween site makeover that doesn’t miss a trick and is loaded with treats. They’ve taken the basic website and replaced the ads with zombie versions such as dead hands showing off rings and a fridge complete with brains on ice. Clicking through the links will take you to a real page where you can buy real items and how can you not buy with an enticement like this?

The center of the page features a Zombie Gift Guide where you’re asked to choose the zombie type (slow, cranky, dirty) and brain preference (runny, chilled, boiled). These lead to more zombie graphics with gift suggestions that are legit.

Local Franchises Lag in the Social Media Market

Over the years, my husband has spent thousands of dollars on tools from Snap-on, but his connection to the company was always through a local franchise owner and not with the corporate office. But if you look for Snap-on on Facebook, you’ll find only a few dealers have pages. Of those, most are out of date and one is friends locked. That’s no way to do business.

According to comScore’s Local Search Usage Study, (as reported by Clickz) “69% of consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information on a social networking site.” 22% contacted a business after finding them on a social network and 67% of those consumers went on to make a purchase.

Amazon iPhone App Offers Scan, Tap, Buy

The latest version of the Amazon iPhone app (1.2.8) connects the offline world to online sales like never before by offering a camera based barcode scanner similar to those available on popular price comparison apps like Red Laser. The new Amazon app supports a more integrated offline-to-online shopping experience by supporting purchases directly inside the app and the ability to add items to your wish list for later purchase.

If you’re selling on Amazon, this is good news for you because you’re more likely to connect with potential customers as they engage with the real world. If you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer, you’re probably cringing at the thought of your customers scanning your products and then making the purchase with your competitor right there in your store. Ouch.

Google Price Index–Real Time Data for Online Pricing

Utilizing their vast collection of shopping data, Google is developing an alternative means of tracking inflation known as the Google Price Index (GPI). The effort is being headed by Google’s chief economist Hal Varian, and has the grand goal of providing more timely price index data.

The well known Consumer Price Index (CPI) provides a monthly measure of inflation based on pricing data gathered by hand from brick-and-mortar retailers along with other sources. The CPI data is published monthly and can be delayed by several weeks. Google’s method of utilizing online sources of pricing data offers a more real time reflection of pricing indexes.

Media General Partners with Groupon For Local Deals

Newspaper publisher Media General has teamed up with Groupon in hopes of driving new traffic to their associated newspaper websites. They’ve started with the Richmond Times-Dispatch and have labeled the offering the “Richmond Daily Deal.” Groupon gets a “powered by” in the logo.

The deals work just as the do on the Groupon website with some slight graphical twists and obviously a much more local focus. When you click on the “buy now” link, you’re taken to the main Groupon website where you can sign in with your Groupon account or Facebook login. It’s assumed that the two companies are splitting the profits but there’s no word on who is making out on the higher end of the deal.

AdKeeper Lets You Rip Out Ads the Modern Way

I’m a magazine ripper. I admit it and I know it’s not something everyone understands, but it’s how I roll. As I read my favorite magazines, I rip out recipes, coupons, the occasional photo of a good looking guy (hey, all work and no play. . . ) and I rip out ads.

With the holidays coming, I’ve been ripping more ads than ever so I was very intrigued when I saw the recent ClickZ article on AdKeeper. AdKeeper is an online service that allows you to virtually rip out the ads you see online. Scott Kurnit, founder and former CEO of About.com, is the man behind the plan. He commissioned a study and found that 95% of people tear ads out of magazines, so it appears I’m not alone in this. His logic is anytime you can bring an offline behavior online, you’ve got a winner.

Forty Percent of Groupon Merchants Say Never Again

Last month, we reported on a story of a Portland Cafe owner who claims she lost thousands of dollars doing business with popular deal site Groupon. Some people sided with her, others said she mishandled the situation and Groupon said her story wasn’t typical. But is it?

The folks at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University wanted to find out, so they did a small study to see if merchants were generally happy with their Groupon experience. The study, which was reported on by The Wall Street Journal and other sources polled 150 merchants who had placed deals with Groupon.