Over the last few years, brick and mortar retailers have come up with some ingenious ways to gather data about the customers who walk into their stores. We’ve taken a look at some of them in past posts on this blog, including one story about “smart” mannequins that observe consumer patterns using cameras in the dummies’ eyes. Although that may skew a bit on the creepy side, it’s important to keep in mind that physical retailers are merely trying to Continue reading

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April 24, 2014

 

The “Happiest Place on Earth” may also be one of the priciest: last year Walt Disney increased the cost of a one-day pass for its Magic Kingdom theme park to $99. The $4 uptick came just eight months after Disney’s previous price hike, but customers don’t appear to mind. In 2013 theme park income rose by 17 percent to $2.2 billion as crowds continued to pack the company’s $14.1 billion entertainment empire.

It’s possible that the lofty costs required Continue reading

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April 16, 2014

If there’s one snack Americans love, it’s chips and dip. But more than a few snackers would be turned off if they found a big bowl of hummus next to their tortilla chips. That’s because 80 million people in the U.S. have no idea the popular Mediterranean chickpea dip even exists. Over the last few years the food company Sabra has been trying to change that fact by making hummus more accessible to American palettes. After all, with only 26 Continue reading

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April 13, 2014

In the days before the Internet, consumers had two choices if they wanted more information about a product: either ask a friend or consult the item’s marketing. And since people in those days weren’t able to stay in constant communication with everyone they knew, most had to opt for the latter. Nowadays, though, consumers have no shortage of options available when they want to shop around. Studies commissioned by Google show that consumers consult an average of 10.4 sources before Continue reading

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April 7, 2014

Over the years, thousands of brands have established pages on Facebook in order to reach the social network’s hundreds of millions of users. Although companies can purchase banner ads or sponsor certain posts, many prefer to use the service’s free features to reach consumers organically. But as Facebook becomes stuffed with content, fewer and fewer posts pop up in a user’s feed. In October 2013, just 12 percent of a page’s content reached people who had “liked” that page. By Continue reading

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April 3, 2014

 

Although Americans love sports, they’ve never quite warmed up to soccer the same as with other pastimes. But interest in the world’s most popular game has been growing steadily as more TV stations pick up games from top-flight European leagues. However, some Americans are busy building their own soccer culture. The Portland Timbers, for instance, have sold out every Major League Soccer home game since their founding four years ago. Thanks to a clever launch and solid marketing, the Continue reading

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December 10, 2013

Engaging with customers through social media has become an essential part of doing business in this digital age. But in many cases, it’s not what companies say on social networks that connect with consumers; it’s what they show. A recent study of the top brand pages on Facebook found that photos gather more than twice the likes of regular links. That’s nothing compared to videos, though, which are shared by users 12 times more often than text.

One gets an Continue reading

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November 30, 2013

 

People today are becoming less and less dependent on cash, though you wouldn’t know it from looking at most vending machines. More than 40 percent of American adults said in a recent survey that they could go a week without paying for something in cash. Meanwhile, many of the nation’s vending machines continue to accept only bills and coins. This reluctance to change likely led to the vending industry’s 18.3 percent drop in sales between 2007 and 2011. When Continue reading

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November 24, 2013

Coming up with innovative products and services is no simple task for companies to accomplish. After all, most new item that businesses roll out takes years of research and development, a costly investment that’s not guaranteed to succeed. In order to avoid R&D burnout, many companies have held competitions in the hopes of finding a great idea from outside the organization. And according to a new MIT study, this might just be the most efficient way for companies to innovate. Continue reading

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November 19, 2013

 

For many image-conscious consumers, product customization provides a way to stand out from the crowd without searching high and low for something totally unique. At Big Shot Bikes, for instance, customers can choose the color and shape of up to 10 parts of the Colorado company’s fixed gear bikes. Once customers select their preferences, Big Shot assembles the bicycles and ships them to the buyers for under $500. With such a relatively reasonable price tag, the company wants consumers Continue reading

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