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Managing Editor

Retail Rants & Raves

By Joe Keenan

About Joe

Joe Keenan is senior editor of Retail Online Integration and Target Marketing Group's web-only brand, eM+C. In addition to his work on those publications, Joe has contributed articles for fellow Target Marketing Group publications Book Business and Publishing Executive magazines. Previously, he served as senior editor at Reed Technology & Information Services for five years. Retail Rants & Raves covers the wide spectrum of retail marketing, from the very best it has to offer to the very worst.


Shipping Insights

Rob Martinez
FedEx Announces 2015 General Rate Increase
Sep 18, 2014

This is the first time FedEx has announced its Ground increase prior to UPS. In the past, UPS would set...

Catalog Doctor

Susan J. McIntyre
Tips for Finding the Right Product Density for Your Catalog
Sep 11, 2014

Product density is quite a science. What's right for one brand is wrong for another. Here are some guidelines that...


Stephen Lett
How Important is Average Order Size?
Sep 3, 2014

Catalog executives always seem to have a great deal of interest in their average order size. They become concerned when...

Return on Inventory

Joe Palzkill
How Product Profiling Increases Sales and Profits
Aug 22, 2014

An accepted best practice in inventory planning is to adhere to the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule....

The Art of Delivering Style

Maria Haggerty
5 Ways Retailers Can Compete With Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery Model
Aug 12, 2014

Most small retailers lack the resources and store footprint to handle same-day shipping on their own. However, it's still possible...

Email Marketing Bites

Liz Ryan
The Email Hierarchy of Needs: Deliverability is the Foundation
Jun 18, 2014

If you're not getting the most of your email messaging, you might not be asking the right questions. How many...

Designed to Convert

Tim Ash
Local Optimization Drives Conversions, But Your Local Page Won’t
Jul 31, 2014

Local was already in play before the iPhone changed the online marketing game in 2007, but the mobile shift has...

Return on Intelligence

Jim Gilbert
LinkedIn Publishing Platform: User Review, Tips and Some Wishes for its Next Iteration, Part 3
Jul 23, 2014

This week in the third and final part of this series, I offer suggestions for how LinkedIn's publishing platform can...

Email Applied

Reggie  Brady
Subject Lines That Work
Jul 18, 2014

Standing out in the inbox isn't easy. A lot of promotional emails I receive have subject lines that aren't special....

ThinkAbout: Inspirational Verve for Your Product Line!

Andrea Syverson
Springboard From Your Brand Filter
Jun 26, 2014

One of the most important ways I strengthen my clients’ brands and product lines is by collaborating with their leaders...

Retail Revelations

Melissa Campanelli
’Tis the Season for Experienced Retail Sales Associates
Nov 15, 2013

Many retailers are preparing for the busy holiday shopping days ahead by making sure their websites are working properly, their...

B-to-B Insights

George Hague
2 Must-Have B-to-B Metrics
Apr 9, 2014

Smart CEOs know two essential B-to-B metrics to successfully grow their businesses: contribution per order (CPO) for new customers and...

Urban Outfitters Crosses the Line With 'Bloody' Kent State Sweatshirt

In case you haven't seen or heard the news yet, Urban Outfitters is embroiled in yet another controversy. The apparel retailer decided it was a good idea to sell a red-stained, seemingly blood-splattered "Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt" on its website. The university in Kent, Ohio was the site of a deadly confrontation between students protesting the Vietnam War and the Ohio National Guard. Four students were killed and nine others were wounded on a fateful day in May 1970. Yet Urban...  Read More >>

Tips for Customizing the Online Shopping Experience

In an effort to give you a sneak peek into the upcoming Retail Online Integration webinar, One Size Does NOT Fit All: Delivering Customized Shopping Experiences for Your Customers (you can register for free here!), I conducted an interview with Catherine Frye, marketing and customer services solutions manager, IBM Business Analytics. Frye will be co-presenting the webinar, and offered a few of her thoughts on the value of personalization in e-commerce. Here's a portion of that interview:  Read More >>


Familiar Themes Resonate at IRCE 2013

Having had a couple of days to regroup and recover from last week's Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago, I wanted to take the opportunity this space provides me to offer my thoughts on the event. So, in no particular order, here they are:  Read More >>

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From Game Show Hero to Retail Innovator

One of the more interesting developments to come out of the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Nashville this week, from which I've just returned, is the launch of IBM Watson Engagement Advisor. The "super computer," named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, was designed as a computing system that could rival the human brain's ability to respond to questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence.  Read More >>


Reflections on NRF 2013

Now that a full week has gone by since the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York City, I've finally caught up and found the time to put together a post on what I took away from the show. Here are my thoughts (in no particular order):  Read More >>

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Back to Basics at

All of us that are either in or cover the retail industry for a living have undoubtedly heard the sentiment, "You must adapt your business to meet the needs of today's changing consumers." While I agree with this statement for the most part — consumers today have access to more information on your products and more avenues to buy those products than ever before — the last two words I take issue with: changing consumers. Are we really?  Read More >>

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International Expansion, Showrooming, Online Marketplaces Trending at IRCE

Having spent last week at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, I came away with three key takeaways: One, if you're an online retailer not selling internationally, particularly in Australia, what are you waiting for? You're missing out on a potential growth opportunity for your brand. Two, brick-and mortar retailers must develop a strategy to deal with "showrooming," — i.e., consumers using stores as showrooms to check out products, then buying those products online at a...  Read More >>

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Really ‘Fair and Square’? How J.C. Penney Alienated a Valuable Customer

Shoppers want to think they're getting a good deal. By taking advantage of sales and using coupons, they get that feeling. J.C. Penney claims it's offering "every day" low prices, which isn't true. It may fool the nonshopper, but not the shopper.  Read More >>

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What I Learned at NRF 2012

The National Retail Federation's Annual Convention & Expo (aka Retail's BIG Show) in New York City wrapped up this past Wednesday. Here are some random conclusions I've drawn after roaming the cavernous Jacob Javits Convention Center for three days covering the event:  Read More >>

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Digital Shift in Plain Sight at Conference

It's no surprise that the majority of cross-channel retailers are focusing their attention online when analyzing the future growth of their companies. Consumers spent $165.4 billion online last year, an increase of 14.8 percent compared to 2009, according to the U.S. Commerce Dept. While certainly eye-catching numbers, that $165.4 billion accounted for less than 5 percent (4.2 percent to be exact) of total retail spending. So you can see why there's such excitement over the future of...  Read More >>

A Bright Spot Amid the Darkness

I’ve just returned from the eTail conference in Boston, and I got to say, the mood was pretty upbeat considering the economic news swirling around the event. A plummeting stock market, stagnant unemployment numbers, downgraded credit rating and talk of a double-dip recession seemed to be mere afterthoughts for those at the event. Heck, the only double-dip that internet retailers may be familiar with these days is scoops of ice cream as they celebrate their latest round of good news.  Read More >>

Thoughts on Another IRCE Gone By

While bad news around the economy continues to pile up — a plunging stock market, troublesome unemployment, a soft housing market, national debt that's out of control — the e-commerce industry seems unaffected. E-commerce sales are steadily rising and for many cross-channel retailers the channel is a bright spot in an otherwise dark place. This mood was certainly reflected at IRCE, where people were upbeat with where they were at and optimistic about their future.  Read More >>

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Mobile Marketing to the Rescue

I have a great example of how mobile/location-based marketing earned a retailer a customer last week. Retail Online Integration hosted its first Retail Roundtable Dinner Event at the super fancy Union League Club in New York City last Thursday. When one of the roundtable panelists showed up to the event in jeans and was denied entrance into the club by Union League staff, plan B quickly sprung into action.  Read More >>

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Mobile All the Talk at 'Catalog' Conference

In a testament to the evolution of the catalog industry, this year NEMOA introduced a new name for its conference. directXchange speaks to the multiple ways merchants can engage with consumers (not unlike the reasoning behind the renaming of this very publication a couple years back from Catalog Success to Retail Online Integration). It's not just about mailing catalogs anymore — and hasn't been for a while. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times: Consumers decide how,...  Read More >>

Another Stop on the Retail Conference Circuit?

Greetings from sunny San Diego, where I'm covering the Online Marketing Summit (OMS) for sister publication eM+C. I know, San Diego in February, tough gig. 

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