Archive for February, 2014

Ace Hardware pinpoints $183 as lifetime value of mobile opt-ins

February 28, 2014 Leave a comment


February 28, 2014

Ace Hardware uses an in-store offer to build its opt-in database

Following efforts to build a database of mobile opt-in users, hardware store chain Ace Hardware has been actively remarketing to the list, helping it determine that the lifetime value of these customers is $183.60.

While a growing number of merchants are leveraging SMS opt-in programs for delivering offers to loyal customers, the best practices when it comes to frequency and type of offer are still being determined. Ace Hardware has been at the forefront in this area, serving as the first retailer to test a new program last summer for tracking mobile coupons from discovery to redemption, resulting in a 49 percent redemption rate.

“The marketer wants to figure out how do they grow, engage and convert and measure their mobile audience,” said Adam Lavine, CEO of FunMobility, Pleasanton, CA. “Growth is all about effective incentives for your particular customer to build that list.

“Engage is what are the sort of offers or experiences you want to send to them,” he said. “If you want to have a brand conversation with your customers that is not all about, ‘Hey, buy this,’ it is fine to send them offers that are of interest and relevant, but it is also important to engage them so you have a conversation with somebody and not just a sales pitch.

“Then it’s about what offers convert the best and how do you measure the effectiveness of those conversions.”

FunMobility powered both the initial pilot program that run last summer as well as the remarketing strategy that has been running since November of 2013.

Deeper engagement
Following the pilot program, Ace Hardware wanted to build its opt-in list even more as well as go deeper on engaging customers in the store and driving them back to the store using mobile.

To accomplish this, Ace Hardware delivered an in-store mobile circular offer starting in November that gives customers a way to swipe between different offers. Included is a coupon offer of between $10 and $25 off a $50 purchase as an incentive to opt-in.

For the analytics, FunMobility focused in on three stores in particular that all offered a $25 coupon, finding that the strategy drove an average of 503 new subscribers per location per month.

The promotion has been running for the past four months, with the average cart size jumping from between $18 and $20 up to $93 during this period.

When Ace Hardware then remarketed to these opt-in customers, they spent an average of $45.

Timed mobile coupon
The remarketing strategy featured a new timed mobile coupon that includes a count-down clock to give customers an added sense of urgency.

An offer was presented only to the opt-in mobile list for 50 percent off a $30 purchase. It was sent at 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, and expired on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 5 pm.  Recipients had 12 hours to use a coupon once they activated it.

Since not all Ace Hardware stores were participating, recipients could also click on a button below the coupon to view a store locator showing the nearest location where the coupon was valid.

Out of all the people who received the promotion, 11.2 percent clicked on the offer, and 5.9 percent of these went into the store and redeemed the offer.  Additionally, 2.9 percent of recipients opted-out.

FunMobility determined that the campaign revenue per opt-in was $2.70 by looking at the total revenue generated and the number of subscribers.

Based on the churn rate, FunMobility extrapolated that the average lifetime of a customer in the program is 34 months. From there, it multiplied $2.70 by 34 by two – the number of campaigns per month – to come up with a lifetime value of $183.60 for customers opted in to the program.

“Here the best practices are to provide incentives to grow your list and then send promotions that the customer finds engaging and relevant,” Mr. Lavine said.

“Assess the effectiveness of that through some typical metric like click-through, but also look at coupon redemption rates, opt-out rates and the value of subscriber and try to grow that over time,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Recycling Denim at Retail Adds Life to Old Jeans

February 28, 2014 Leave a comment

sourcing journal 

February 27, 2014 by 

Everyone has a favorite pair of denim jeans — until they start fraying or ripping.  At one time, some funky patches might have helped to cover the holes and prolong the life of the jean.  But these days, recycling is giving denim an extended run.

Some store chains are collecting denim to have it reprocessed for alternative uses, while other retailers and brands are selling garments made from recycled denim.

H&M, long known for its fast fashion, started collecting used apparel last year to reduce the amount that ends up in landfills.  The fibers from those collected garments have been turned into five men’s and women’s denim styles, including jackets and jeans, to be sold in select stores starting this month.

“Recycling these materials into new garments allows us to close the loop on the lifecycle of a garment – hence the name Close The Loop collection,” says H&M’s Nicole Christie, spokesperson.  “Both our Conscious (made from sustainable materials) and Close the Loop collections are at the forefront of fashion and sustainability. They show very clearly that choosing greener fashion does not mean compromising on design or price. We hope by consistently providing these Conscious products to our customers, we can help make a better choice easier for our shoppers, while applying these innovations on a bigger scale.”

Such a program also supports a growing consumer wish to do the right thing environmentally — even when it comes to their jeans.   As it happens, most (74%) of consumers “like or love” their denim jeans, according to the Cotton IncorporatedLifestyle Monitor™ Survey.  In fact, the average U.S shopper owns seven pairs.  While this could lead to a lot of denim getting tossed when it no longer fits or a hole is blown in the knee, most consumers attempt to repurpose their jeans by donating them to charity (51%), giving them away (14%), re-using them in a different way (6%), or selling them (5%).  Just 10% of consumers throw away jeans they no longer plan to wear, according to Monitor data.

J. Crew became one of the latest players in the denim recycling movement when it joined Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program.  From Feb. 17 to March 3, participating stores have collected pre-worn denim from customers.  Those who dropped off a used pair of jeans and purchased a new pair received 15% off their entire order.

Over the past eight years, the Blue Jeans Go Green™ denim recycling program has collected more than 1 million pieces of denim. These efforts have diverted more than 600 tons of waste from landfills and equal approximately 2 million square feet of UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation to assist with building efforts in communities in need.

Since the start of the program in 2006, the insulation has been distributed to Habitat for Humanity affiliates around the country. As another avenue for distribution, Cotton launched a Grant Program in 2010 for architects, contractors, builders and project developers to apply for grants of UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation for community-based green buildings.

Technology has played a significant role in turning denim into an innovative product, while still maintaining its image as a strong and durable heritage fabric.  At the recently held Première Vision show, Jeanologia won the WGSN Global Fashion Award in the Best Sustainable Design Team category.  One of its innovations is using laser and ozone technology on recycled denim, “and getting amazing results,” says Carmen Silla, who leads digital marketing strategies, adding, “We are collaborating with Cotton Incorporated on developing its new FABRICAST™ collection, working in different fabrics.”

Jeanologia’s textile laser reproduces vintage and worn effects on garments without the use of harsh chemicals, as well as saving on water and energy usage.  The ozone-based techniques include the eco-washer G2.  It washes jeans and T-shirts with ozone and oxygen, using no water or chemicals, to give the garments a vintage finish.

“This technology translates into a 67% water savings per garment, 85% savings in chemicals and 62% savings in energy,” Silla says.

Ultimately, these technologies benefit both planet and industry.  While just a third of consumers are likely to seek out eco-conscious clothes for themselves, 69% would be bothered if they discovered a purchase was not environmentally friendly, according to the Cotton Incorporated 2013 Environment Survey.  Further, 40% would blame the manufacturer, followed by the brand (14%), and themselves (12%).

Because H&M was known for its low-priced trendy apparel, it gained a reputation for carrying “disposable” clothes — garments that could be worn just a few times and then thrown out.  Its newest collection and recycling program go a long way toward overcoming that perception.

Christie says the Close the Loop line, which will be carried in 2,000 stores for men and 800 for women, contains 20% recycled cotton, which is the maximum amount that can be used today when making new fabric.

“The aim is to use more material from recycled post-consumer garments in the future,” she says.  “Making greener product choices available to all our customers around the world allows us to work together to contribute to a more sustainable fashion future.”

This article is one in a series that appears weekly on The data contained are based on findings from the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ Survey, a consumer attitudinal study, as well as upon other of the company’s industrial indicators, including its Retail Monitor and Supply Chain Insights analyses. Additional relevant information can be found at  Blue Jeans Go Green™ is a trademark of Cotton Incorporated. UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation is a trademark of Bonded Logic, Inc.


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Boeing Black: The secure, self-destructing smartphone

February 28, 2014 Leave a comment
photo 28 February, 2014
        Posting in Technology
Boeing looks to be getting into the smartphone business.
 “The U.S. defense and security communities demand trusted access to data to accomplish their missions,” Boeing’s website says. “Despite the continuous innovation in commercial mobile technology, current devices are not designed from inception with the security and flexibility needed to match their evolving mission and enterprise environment.”
Boeing’s answer: Boeing Black, a secure Android smartphone that the aerospace and defense company says can be used “across a range of missions.”
The nature of the product keeps many of the security features confidential or at least very broad, like “disk encryption” or a “hardware root of trust” that “ensures software authenticity.” But the really interesting information comes from documents the company filed with the FCC, as Myce discovered.
The documents say:
“There are no serviceable parts on Boeing’s Black phone and any attempted servicing or replacing of parts would destroy the product. The Boeing Black phone is manufactured as a sealed device both with epoxy around the casing and with screws, the heads of which are covered with tamper proof covering to identify attempted disassembly.
“Any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable.”
Here’s Boeing’s look at the phone:
But most of us will get about as close to this secure phone as we would a similar spy movie gadget. That’s because you won’t find this product on the shelves of any electronics store, as Geekwire points out. The phone is currently only available to U.S. government agencies and government contractors.

But for those looking for a more secure smartphone, there are plenty coming to market, like this one. Still, it’s important to know that even using a “secure” phone is a risk.

More information on Boeing Black here [pdf].
Photo: Boeing
Related on SmartPlanet:

— By Tyler Falk                                                                on February 27, 2014, 12:26 PM PST

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Google’s ‘Swing For The Fences’ Strategy

February 28, 2014 Leave a comment

photoMarshall Hargrave   Feb. 28, 2014 12:17 AM ET

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

 Google (GOOG) shelled out over $12 billion for Motorola Mobility back in 2012. At the time, the price seemed rather high, even though Google got some 17,000 patents and 7,500 pending patents. This was Motorola’s largest acquisition by far. Less than two years later, Google has sold off its Motorola for just under $3 billion to Lenovo.

This has confirmed for many that the acquisition was a folly in the first place. Even still, Google is keeping all but 2,000 of the patents it acquired. All in all, the move wasn’t that bad. The set-top box business acquired in the deal has already been sold for $2.35 billion.

Granted it didn’t work out quite as well as many investors expected. I think this type of big bet is exactly why Google trades at 20x next year’s earnings, and Apple at only 11x. The market is respecting Google’s attempt to use its cash to grow, and its big bet mentality.

Fourth quarter revenues came in at $16.86 billion, an increase of 17% Y/Y. Operating income was up over 15%. The total paid clicks was up 31% year on year, and 13% sequentially. Google has kept its dominant position in search for sometime. eMarketer notes that global spending on digital advertising for 2013 was $118 billion. Google owned over 40% of the digital marketing spend that year. This share has been fairly constant for the last three years. This market is expected to jump to $135 billion in 2014. This should be the bulk driver of revenues for Google. From what we know about YouTube, its growth has been strong and there appears to be plenty of potential to target advertisers.

However, granted the digital marketing industry isn’t going to grow at a high growth rate. That’s why Google will continue to step up to the plate. And while it might strike out a lot, it’s also looking to hit a home run. I admire Google for taking its cuts, where Apple appears to be content with taking a walk.

Google is still a “moon shooter”

Not everything has a commercial objective, which accounts for the fact that the company has started and then dropped many new projects over the past few years. Google continues to operate with the premise that it can and will take big bets. The perceived failure of Motorola Mobility won’t do much to deter the company, nor Larry Page. Its core businesses should remain advertising and search. Gmail and Android only serve to extend that reach.

Google is also making the move into the fast growing robotics and artificial intelligence markets, with the recent acquisition of eight companies in robotics, and one in artificial intelligence. It is also making a large move into automated manufacturing with Foxconn (OTC:FXCOF), which is the biggest manufacturing contractor for Apple (AAPL).

Google will be working to develop new robotic manufacturing systems, with the partnership providing a good testing ground for robotics technology. One the other hand, the acquisition of Nest has helped it gain a tighter grip on “Internet of Things,” setting a stage for the company to build a platform for home automation, much like its helped automate the internet. Google is also looking to get into your car, further extending the reach of Android. It announced the formation of OAA (Open Automotive Alliance), with companies likes of Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai already signed up.

Bottom line

Google continues to be an exciting growth story. The valuation isn’t reasonable for some investors. However, it continues to be at the forefront when it comes to connecting technology, and pushing its limits. I think that’ll continue to support its 20x to 30x earnings multiple, unlike Apple. I think one of the things that keeps Apple’s multiples compressed is their relative secrecy when it comes to trying to grow its business. Google is a bit more open with its ventures and growth opportunities, and the market rewards it for such. Part of Google’s premium valuation is also thanks to its F you attitude.

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Researchers Double Lithium-Ion Battery Life, Speed Charge Time

February 27, 2014 Leave a comment
Txchnologist, sponosored by GE

Researchers Double Lithium-Ion Battery Life, Speed Charge TimeOver the last three years, electric vehicle sales in the US have been steadily increasing but only adding a small number of new buyers every year, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association. In Europe, meanwhile, countries like Germany have seen numbers stagnate. One of the biggest issues facing the wider uptake of electric cars is the still-lagging battery technology.

If engineers could increase batteries’ energy storage capacity and decrease the time needed to charge them, the lithium-ion batteries used in modern electric vehicles would become much more efficient. This improvement is just what the University of Limerick (UL) in Ireland is targeting. Researchers there are working with the elements germanium and silicon, which they say could double battery life even after being charged and discharged more than 1,000 times.

Lithium-ion batteries are typically based on a form of carbon called graphite, which is quite limited in the energy it can store. In Limerick, a team led by Kevin Ryan, a senior lecturer in inorganic chemistry and chemical nanotechnology, is developing alternatives to graphite—a germanium and silicon nanowire-based anodes through which positive electric charges flow.

“It comes down to capacity. The maximum capacity that you get for graphite is of the order of 300 milliamp-hours per gram,” Ryan tells Txchnologist on why graphite has been inefficient for so long. “When you move to germanium, you’re getting over a 1,000 and with silicon up to 3,000.”

The researchers have restructured germanium into a nanowire form that is “remarkably stable” and sees no drop in capacity over three times as much use as graphite. The team’s innovation prevents germanium’s tendency to swell and disintegrate when used in bulk, a characteristic that obstructed its use in rechargeable batteries. Their nanowire form of the element restructures into a porous framework that can withstand the long cycling.

Speeding charge time

Beside higher energy storage capacity, the team’s work also looks like it can significantly decrease time at the pump. Currently, most electric car batteries charge at a rate called 1C, which means they take approximately an hour to charge, explains Senan McGrath, CTO of Irish electricity supplier ESB e-cars, which has been rolling out electric-vehicle charging infrastructure. A 2C rate means that a battery would charge in about 30 minutes. “What they’re doing in Limerick with the anode technology would mean you would increase that rate to a 10C rate, so you could fast charge a car 10 times quicker,” says McGrath. “That would be quite dramatic, getting a full charge in maybe six minutes.”

This would bring the time spent charging an e-car to a similar length of that spent filling up regular automobiles at a gas station.

Ryan says germanium is an ideal power rate material while silicon is better for capacity, though the former is a more expensive material. This has led his team to finding a way to harness the best of both worlds in their fundamental research.

“At the moment we’re just looking at silicon or germanium, but we’re looking at technologies that will combine both to allow us to maximize the overall capacity and achieve the power rate benefits of the germanium,” says Ryan. “Silicon has a high capacity, germanium is a better material in terms of power rate effects, and to combine those will lead to an even better battery material.”

They hope the end product will be a battery that can hold more charge and maintain it for a much longer time, making a considerable difference for consumers.

Where the research heads next

The Limerick group has been working on this research for two years as part of a four-year program funded by GREENLION, an EU-sponsored project with a view to creating greener and cheaper lithium-ion batteries for the future.

The next challenge for the UL team is finding industrial partners to scale the technology for commercial purposes by the end of the four-year project. “On a lab scale we can show it with a small amount of material, but ultimately for commercialization we need to scale up the quantity of material that we can do this with,” says Ryan. “This is taking our nanowire synthesis platform from a lab to a larger scale, so kilo-scale will be our next target.”

To do this, the researchers are looking to Irish funding agencies to present their results to commercial battery manufacturers.

“I would expect that it would be a couple of years,” says ESB’s McGrath on when the technology might make it out to the public. “To get it into a commercial battery and to get it tested so that the automotive industry is happy to put it into a car will take a number of years, so I don’t think we’ll see it on the ground for three or four years.”

Ryan says his group’s research isn’t restricted to e-cars; it is equally applicable to smartphones, which could see significant increases in the device’s battery life if their materials are incorporated.

UL’s research, which was published in the journal Nano Letters in January, continues, and they’re not the only team trying to improve battery technology. Several companies and countries are investing in research to build the batteries of the future, whether it’s GREENLION, President Obama’s 2013 pledges to conduct vigorous battery research or that which is ongoing at the Tokyo University of Science.

Top Image: Electric vehicle in car sharing station, Milan, Italy. Viappy /

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Digital Insights From 23 Marketing Trendsetters

February 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Digital Insights From 23 Marketing Trendsetters

There has never been a better time to be a marketer.
The tools to build a brand, increase engagement, and
generate sales are almost endless. On any given day,
marketers have literally thousands of strategic, creative,
media, testing and measurement choices they can make.
The real challenge is figuring out the right approach, at
the right time, with the right customer, at the right ROI.

In this eBook, we talk about many of the new tools:
real-time dynamic content, mobile enablement,
multi-channel attribution, social, mobile, video, as
well as customer lifetime value, to name a few. They
can all help accomplish the objectives above.
We spoke with nearly two-dozen of our favorite marketers
who are making great strides in the marketplace. What
emerges are 23 interviews from digital marketing experts
who are opening up their playbooks providing actionable,
accessible insights. The list of luminaries is diverse: people
from Google, Dell, Amazon-owned Audible, a SaaS analytics
startup, even a world-class sports franchise—the list goes on
and on. What binds these people together is their common
passion for building brands, meeting the needs of customers,
obsessive experimentation, gleaning actionable insights and
measuring…well, everything.

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Uses of Color in Fashion and Design

February 27, 2014 Leave a comment
Uses of Color in Fashion and Design

27February 2014

Jahanara Akter
Lecturer, Dept. of Fashion Design

Color is extremely versatile in its uses. It can be used to make a statement, create an atmosphere, or call forth a response. Color expresses outwards towards the world, but it also helps us to travel inwards towards spiritual states, towards our true self. We can use color to get what we want from the world, or we can use it to find something in ourselves.

Color wheelColor wheel

Uses of color in fashion the cut and style of our clothes will express our values, but it is color which will add the personal touch, showing something of our personality or our current state.

Color in fashionable dressColor in fashionable dress

In decor color will create an atmosphere, in a public space that is to say or do something to others. For example green in the hospital ward, yellow in the kindergarten. At home colors are a way to nourish ourselves. Particularly as we move into the more private areas of the house such as our bedroom. Uses of color in decor that make us feel good, relaxed, nourished, revived or buoyant, what ever we wish.

Color in home decorationColor in home decoration

Uses of color is common application in business. In business colour can be used to achieve desired results. Blue is good for suits, (and the police). It looks authoritative, indeed it relates to the throat chakra which is the energy for the leader – the one who uses his voice to issue instructions. Surprisingly then it is also used for workers’ overalls. Workers are not leaders but in this case, aside from not showing dirt too much, blue can keep workers aligned with the influence of the (blue) leader. Workers in red overalls could be stimulated by the red to rebel instead – red being the color that stimulates “Stop”, “No” and Revolution!

Marketing and Design:
In marketing and design color can help to support a message, green says fresh for vegetables (though not for meat!). Red says exciting, sexy. Gold (not too much) says quality. The associations for each color play a vital role here, however they must also be modified for local cultural considerations. For example black is for funerals in the West, but in China white is used.

Color in fabric designColor in fabric design

Art and culture:
In the world of art and high culture color plays an important symbolic role. In Christian art for example the Virgin Mary typically appears in blue and white. These colors say heavenly (blue sky) and pure (white). She was a virgin, sexually (red) inactive. Her son Jesus as the Christ typically appears in red and white. White for purity again but red here is for action, engaging with the earth and life upon it. Jesus did not stay on the mountain meditating. He led a spiritual revolution in society.

Color in cultural festivalColor in cultural festival

Everyday life:
On the street color is used not just for signs but also as light itself. For example red is used not just on prohibitive road signs – No Entry etc. – but red also appears as the color of car brake lights and as the “stop” color in traffic lights. Red signals “Stop”. But red also has the effect of waking us up, bringing us out of daydreams into the here and now. It is the color for stop but also the energy that wakes us up. This is ideal when there is potential danger.

Symbol or stimulus:
The above example of red shows where color begins to become used not just to represent something but actually to do something. In hospitals blue light helps jaundiced children to recover more quickly. Ultra violet, though not traditionally considered a color as it is the next step up from violet in the spectrum, ultraviolet is used to kill bacteria. As mentioned elsewhere in this site, the red light of the red light district will energise the base chakra, thus stimulating interest and desire for sex. Colour acts upon our energy field and therefore our consciousness directly.

In counselling and therapy colour can be used as a way in. The colour choices we make not only say something about us but can also help us. In the right context those same chosen colours can help to stimulate thoughts and feelings, memories and states which will reveal our deeper processes. Colour is a tool that we not only use to affect the outside world, it is a tool that we can use to open up ourselves.

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