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"Consistently Mediocre" Firms in Better Position Than "Inconsistently Amazing" Firms to Boost Holiday Sales
As stores enter their final push to boost holiday sales in a down economy, firms that demonstrate consistency in product quality are more likely to see higher sales compared to firms that are hit or miss when it comes to quality, according to P.J. Lamberson, a visiting professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management. He found that "being consistently mediocre is better than being inconsistently amazing" because consistent customer reviews and recommendations--"positive feedbacks"--lead to higher market share.

These feedbacks, both positive and negative, are available on just about every online retail Website these days which post customers' product reviews, rank products based on top sellers, and even provide a breakdown of what shoppers ultimately purchased among competing products. Lamberson noted that these types of positive feedbacks drive the adoption of virtually every new product, particularly new technologies.

In "Better Late than Variable: The Strategic Advantages of Consistent Positive Feedbacks," Lamberson and his coauthor, Scott Page from the University of Michigan, studied which factors related to customer feedback lead to the largest market share. "Is a firm better off targeting a product towards a small population of early adopters to get the ball rolling or investing in a product that creates smaller but more broadly based feedbacks?" he asked.

Lamberson and Page found that the advantages gained by establishing an early lead through strategies like deep discounts...
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IBM, eFuture Partner in Hosted App for China's Retail Distribution Sector
IBM has joined with eFuture Information Technology, Inc. to offer software to the retail distribution industry in China. The application is being delivered under the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. It is already being deployed at select stores of the Beijing Wangfujing Department Store Group. According to the two companies, the initiative has brought some 2,000 of the retailer's suppliers onto the platform, allowing them to exchange business information, arrange payments online and...
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Sam's Club Lowers Fee for Pallets Without RFID Tags
Sam's Club, the warehouse retail chain that is a division of Wal-Mart Stores, said in a letter sent this week to suppliers that it has reduced the fee for each pallet it receives without a radio frequency identification tag. The retailer will now charge 12 cents, instead of $2.50, to place an EPC RFID tag on...
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Honeywell Puts Windows Mobile 6 on Dolphin 7600 Mobile Computer
The Windows Mobile 6 Standard operating system is now available on the Dolphin 7600 mobile computer from Honeywell. The software offers integration with a number of other Microsoft applications, including Office, Internet Explorer Mobile, Exchange and Outlook, and SQL Server. Upgrades and enhancements to the OS are present in storage, secure communications and remote access, Honeywell said. The vendor's flashlight-sized Dolphin 7600 features...
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Rethinking Efficacy of Those In-Store Displays and Promotions
Retailers and manufacturers of consumer goods have long believed that most grocery store purchases are unplanned, and that showy displays will push more goods into shopping carts. The displays may help sales, but the underlying assumption--that most grocery store sales are impulse buys--is wrong. That's not to say that in-store marketing is unimportant. But retailers may need to rethink...
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Selling Top Management on Supply Chain Value
While many senior executives still view supply chain functions such as transportation and logistics as cost centers, forward thinking supply chain managers can show senior managers how they can help increase sales and profits. A starting point is taking the initiative to have inventories in the right place, in the right quantity and the right time, all of which will improve cash flow and support better customer service and sales. To gain top management support, supply chain managers must sell its value to...
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