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The Challenges of Exclusivity and Social Media

RTEmagicC_10_1007_EcommerceICA2.jpg Luxury watch brands have not hesitated to establish their presence on Facebook.  Today, nothing is stopping this network from becoming a preferred communication, and even commercial, channel. 

Brands have a growing list of electronic tools and platforms that let them interact with consumers - read our past posts regarding moblie marketing, the iPad and tablet computers and augmented reality applications. Besides the technologies themselves, the method in which they are used merits equal attention.  Creating exclusivity and social-commerce is among these methods.


By Jonathan | November 29, 2010 | E-Commerce , | News & Trends
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Is Luxury compatible with E-commerce?

The daily newspaper Le Temps has asked IC-Agency’s Marc-Olivier Peyer to shed some light on the new European regulations affecting luxury product e-commerce on June 1st.

Read the article originally published in Le Temps.

By IC-Agency | June 23, 2010 | Actualité , | E-Commerce , | Luxury Watch Special
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The Spanish daily paper "El Mundo" asks IC-Agency about Luxury Market Trends

El_Mundo_logo Recently contacted by El Mundo’s editorial team, IC-Agency shared the latest trends in Spanish online demand for luxury watches.

Read the article "El Reloj Marca la Navidad" appeared in Crónica, the luxury section from the famous Spanish daily paper.


By IC-Agency | January 17, 2010 | Actualité , | E-Advertising , | E-Commerce , | IC-Agency Events , | Luxury Watch Special , | News & Trends , | Sponsored Links
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Tourism, Internet and Customer Loyalty

Yesterday, Yves-Alain Schwaar, Consulting Director for IC-Agency, hosted a workshop about the impact the Internet has had on the rules of customer acquisition and loyalty. Organized by Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) and its research department, this event incited a great deal of interest from the audience, which consisted of directors and executives from EHL’s Alumni Enterprises.

The key players in online tourism: comparison sites, search engines, travel agencies like Ebookers, Expedia and TripAdvisor were reviewed in order to better understand their impact on a traveler’s online behavior before, during, and after their trip. It is important to note that Kayak, leader in tourism search engines overseas, has extended into Europe: further proof that things are far from stagnant.

To discover more, we invite you to consult the presentation from this workshop:
Tourism: How does the Internet Change the Rules of Customer Acquisition and Loyalty?

By Philip Arseneau | February 11, 2009 | Actualité , | Competitive Monitoring , | Demand Analysis , | E-Advertising , | E-Commerce , | IC-Agency Events , | Perception Analysis , | Search Engine Optimization , | Search Engine Protection , | Sectorial Analysis , | Sponsored Links , | Strategic Consulting
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Luxury Watch Making Publication: New Technologies and Strategies

IC-Agency had the honor of being invited to the Journée Internationale du Marketing Horloger, organized by Club Swiss Marketing in Chaux-de-Fonds, the Swiss capital of luxury watch making.

This was an opportunity to meet over 300 industry professionals primarily from France and Switzerland united by a main theme: “Luxury Watch Publications: New Technologies and Strategies”.

The event took an interesting look at certain efficient trends and news on watch making publications. From the importance of blogs and product placement in videos, to the analysis of campaigns linking the arts to luxury watch brands, the topic of e-marketing was covered by David Sadigh around the theme “How to use the internet to gain efficiency in you rmarketing strategies”. Some of the more notable subjects he discussed are:

• The WorldWatchReport and the myth of counterfeiting
Positioning among search engines
Consumer Generated Media and social networks
E-Reputation Management

The round table, hosted by Grégory Pons around the captivating topic of the future of luxury watch making press, welcomed editors from the main Swiss publishers including Jean-Philippe Arm from Watch Around, Didier Pradervand of Montres Passion, Eric Othenin-Girard of Movment, Peter Braun of Armbanduhren and Philippe Maillard of Europa Star.

 A side note on Europa Star, an IC-Agency partner, who brought forth more than 10 years of experience with regards to integrating the internet into luxury watch makers’ marketing strategies. By pointing the “Actualities” section of the magazine towards the website, Europa Star has succeeded in adapting its publication to the most relevant media channels.

By IC-Agency | December 10, 2008 | E-Advertising , | E-Commerce , | E-reputation , | IC-Agency Events , | Luxury Watch Special , | Search Engine Optimization
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E-Commerce in Paris

IC-Agency and Holistis expect to see you at their booth at the Paris E-Commerce convention which will be held from September 23 to 25. We have two conferences scheduled for this event:

On Tuesday, September 23, at 4:45 pm, Holistis will present:
2% of Your Visitors Become Clients, a Fatality?

On Wednesday, September 24, at 4:45 pm, IC-Agency will present:
Tag Heuer: Measuring the Global Impact for the Launch of the Meridiist
In collaboration with Fréderic Layani, International Internet and CRM Manager – Tag Heuer


For more details, visit the E-Commerce Paris website now and ask for your free access badge for this event.

By Philip Arseneau | September 01, 2008 | E-Commerce , | Holistis , | IC-Agency Events , | Perception Analysis
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Boucheron and e-commerce

Ddasfag_2 In a interview published today by the Journal du Net, Jean-Christophe Bédos, CEO of Boucheron, revisits the past 6 months of their new e-commerce site, which was launched last September.

Even though the site’s performance is satisfying in terms of revenue, sales income isn’t its prime objective:  Mr. Bédos considers it primarily to be a means to generate traffic to the boutiques and to offer additional online services to costumers.  Still, the site registered an increase in visitors of over 400% since its creation.

Although he voluntarily admits that he wasn’t expecting to embark on an e-commerce adventure when accepting his new role, these results gave way to new aspirations.  For the actual site, for which a new version will be launched within days, an e-commerce site dedicated to the American market should appear in the course of this year.  Eventually, Japan will also be served with its own virtual Boucheron boutique.

Beyond Boucheron, Mr. Bédos’ vision concerning the luxury goods market on the Internet is extremely compelling.  As he ties the rise of e-commerce with the improvement of security and logistics, he suggests the rise of luxury e-commerce is in part due to a sociological evolution; as 10 years ago companies were predicting the Internet would be the death of the brand, a completely different scenario has been playing out as the Internet “has amplified the impact of brands on consumers, mostly because of e-commerce”.

For Mr. Bédos, this first e-commerce site confirms that brick-and-mortar boutiques and virtual boutiques are complementary, not substitutive.    Hence, the e-commerce site welcomes visitors (even buyers!) that would not have otherwise passed through the doors of a “real” boutique, a phenomenon that Mr. Bédos calls the “phobie de pas de porte”.  However, this does not keep actual boutique customers from visiting the e-commerce site for additional information.

The luxury industry has immense e-commerce growth potential.  After Boucheron and Bedat & C°, other brands are sure to follow.  In a virtual world that rids consumers of physical contact with the products, the power of a brand will have an even larger role to play.

By IC-Agency | March 05, 2008 | E-Commerce , | Luxury Watch Special , | Sectorial Analysis
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Online Shopping in 2006 - An experience (not to be missed?)

Here are a few stories about my online shopping in 2006. I bought stuff from from some of the biggest retailers and my stories expose the wild world of parcel tracking and shipping date estimates. To make it more fun, I'll issue some "Scoring" in each "round" for a positive event and occurrences to either the retailer or the customer (or both).

Abstract and Executive Summary: I think we have a still quite some way to go with online retailing.

So let's tally some of the experiences I've had in 2006. Initially the shopping spree started with my 6 year old son. He overheard a song that was playing on my MP3 player in the car - the theme song to the 1980s Captain Future comic-cartoon series I had watched as a kid in Germany. He liked it and asked what it is. I told him and agreed to check, if I can buy the DVDs from him.

A quick Google search pointed to the amazon.de site and the current DVD releases. Great! But hold on - shipping to Canada from the site is not possible. No problem, a quick cut-n-paste to the amazon.ca site  should resolve that. Click-click and ... nothing, nada, zilch. Not even a reference that this product might be available somewhere within the amazon domains. OK, let's send a friendly customer service email asking for it. A few days later the boilerplate response: "Will never be available. Thank you!" Of course its not available, because of the stupid DVD region coding. But can't they sell it to me anyhow since my expensive region-free player would play it just fine? Thus, resigning, we are off to "P2P-download-land" (where we are forced to go!?).

Scoring for this round: Retailer 0 - Customer 0

Since I am on amazon.ca already, I'll get a couple of childrens books for my son so he is not so upset about the missing DVD. Let's make it $39 worth of the "Magic Schoolbus" books that he likes so much - why $39, well, to get the super-saver FREE shipping. Search "Magic Schoolbus" ... 2 friggin' results. Huh! OK, let's go after the publisher "Scholastic" .. 24000 results. Useless search - why even bother telling me. A few searches later we have the list - all mixed up with all the used books from affiliates, school-binding-versions, etc. Click. Buy. Checkout. Total: $38.78 - just 0.22 cents short of the Super Saver discount so shipping is = $11.95. Heck, I'll give them the 22 cents to make the order $39. So were is the "Continue" shopping button to add more products? Nada, Nix, rien - Not shown!

Scoring for this round: Retailer 0 - Customer 0

The story continues with a few more interface mishaps and tryping to send me a book as late as 2007 (including the option to "wait until the order is complete" to get the Super-Saver discount). Huh - I am waiting for a year for my order or what? Finally I arrive after a few more checkout sessions at an order that is >$39 and ready to be shipped in a few days. THIS IS HARD WORK!

Scoring for this round: Retailer 0 - Customer 1

Next was the project "Get a new Digital Camera". After a bit of research and a few phonecalls with my Dad, I am as confused as ever. It had to be a fast camera. And good on batteries. So let's check a good online retailer in Canada "Future Shop". A nice product is available, a refurbished 7Mpixel camera from Casio, but currently out of stock. Darn! Any options to get email notifications for when it becomes available - Not! (Am I asking too much from shopping sites?)

Scoring for this round: Retailer 0 - Customer 0

Thankfully research on the camera models continued and two days later the futureshop.ca site was being browsed again more or less by accident. Law and behold - the camera is not "In Stock - 40 available". AAAmazing - Click. Buy. Fill in order form. See shipping dates: 2 weeks from now. Oh well! (Maybe not in stock after all?)

Scoring for this round: Retailer 0 - Customer 1

Off to another site to get a memory card: ncix is the second largest PC parts retailer in Canada and they have cheap stuff. Found a nice 2G card. Qualifies for express shipping. Click. Buy. Cool!

Scoring for this round: Retailer 1 - Customer 1

Ahh, the emails keep pouring in. Camera shipped early, yippee! And books ship early too. So let's see when they arrive. The email sais "Expedited Parcel", sound's like they are already at the door. Let's login to amazon and check ... "Estimated Arrival: May 23, 2006", Duh! - That is 2 weeks from now. And where is the link to the courier to track the parcel.

Scoring for this round: Retailer 0 - Customer 0

So off to canadapost.ca after and cut-n-paste the tracking number into the "Track a package" section. Huh! 3 fields: "Item Number", "Reference Number" and "Notification Number". What a guessing game. Incredible. Thankfully the first entry box worked and the arrival date shown was "in a couple of days".

Scoring for this round: Postoffice 0 - Customer 1

A past experiences along the same lines for good measures: The tigerdirect email with misformatted tracking numbers to Purolator and a customer service that did NOT understand what I was talking about when I had the courtesy to tell them about their errors in a website response. At least the stuff was cheap and arrived on time - so one point for me.

Scoring for this round: Retailer 0 - Customer 1

And yet another amazon anecdote: the pre-christmas Lord of the Ring Package deal - that was so sweet a deal at only $49.95 for 9 DVDs (advertised on the front page) ... that turned out to be a "Sorry! Pricing error - order cancelled!" after 3 days of waiting for the confirmation of the order.

Scoring for this round: Retailer 0 - Customer 0

OK enough for now. Overally, I have to conclude that it is not a great showing for online-retail giants like amazon. Retailers and shippers scored 1 out of 10. I am amazed that me - the customer - put up with only a 5 out of 10. Or should I say "the glass is half full" and I should be happy ...

Sometimes after such sessions, we might say: Why even shop online? Heck, it has saved some money and given me more choices. And it justifies the computer and broadband internet connection. Plus I don't like to mall-shop or browse storefronts anyhow. So now let's just hope all the stuff arrives safely and the electronics works as advertised.

But if anyone still wonders why online retailing has not really killed off the traditional bricks-n-mortar stores, see above. The online retailers have a lot of little kinks and usability issues in their systems to work on - a task that'll take time, because its so hard to get it right all the time!

by A. Schiffler, May/Sept 2006

By aschiffler | September 27, 2006 | E-Commerce
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Business Opportunity

(by Flavio Quaranta)

For my first contribution to the corporate blog,  I have decided to use the inspiration of the talented Ouriel Ohayon, who regularly proposes fruitful business opportunities to his many readers, with the objective of informing you of this new concept that is sweeping the nation in both Canada and the United States.

One of the virtues linked to Internet commerce has, and will always be, the bypassing of the middleman. This entails passing all monopolistic types of commissions and money hungry salespersons’ from adding value charges to your future purchase.

Love it or hate it, it’s a revolution that has begun in the real estate market.

Help-U-Sell has established a unique and lucrative marketing concept so effective for potential sellers, that it strikes fear in the eyes of all traditional real estate agencies.

The genius behind Help-U-Sell is that they actually help the owner sell the home or property without paying any commission fees, thus eliminiating the middleman.

For example: Take a home worth $500,000.  On average a salesman takes a 5% commission, or $25,000.  In some extreme cases, the commission percentage can reach an excess of 7%! 

How does Help-U-Sell work?

First of all, they have a catchy slogan that speaks the truth, “No commissions - ever!”  This allows them to attract potential clients, all the while convincing them of their offer at hand.

But if Help-U-Sell doesn’t charge commission, how do they survive?

This is where the marketing genius comes into play.  They sell what are called "packages" and franchises to the clients.

For anyone wanting to sell their home, you simply need to purchase a package. The packages vary in services to meet your budgetary needs.

The selling point of this concept is the fact that the client does not pay the package fees if the house does not sell. The power of this idea seems to be inexhaustible.

So what does the package contain?

The package contains practically everything that you need to successfully sell your home or property, from lawn sign leasing to legal assistance. They offer increased visibility via mix marketing online and offline, pre-qualification of potential clients (for whom they also offer financial solutions), and the support of a local representative in person. Help-U-Sell opens franchises left, right and center.

Does it work?

With nearly 2 million available houses listed on their Internet site and the opening of a new office (franchise) every 48 hours throughout the US and Canada, the numbers seem to speak for themselves.

They are solving a real concern for the active real estate market by offering added value to any client tired of getting gouged by high commission based agencies that have become stagnant in a monopolistic market.

What is the competition doing?

With hourly wages running around $75-$150, the slow transition to adopt a different system and letting go of the juicy commission based system is a painful ordeal.

Help-U-Sell seems submerged by its own success. This leaves (for the time being?) the vast Canadian territory to companies like Property Guys, based out of Moncton New Brunswick, who were not boosted to mimic this extraordinary concept, but seem to be doing extremely well.

Although reflecting the same goals, when comparing the two sites, my acute marketing senses could not help but conclude the evolving formation of a serious gap separating the success of the American from the Canadian enterprise.

While Help-U-Sell is soaking up the abundant riches offered by Internet Marketing (collaborative filtering, SEM, mandatory sign-up to get site information, etc.), Property Guys seem poorly armed in case of an American invasion on their turf, when or if  this ever occurs.

I am convinced that this concept will also cross the pond to Europe and Switzerland.

May this article hold the attention of a young entrepreneur filled with passion.

P.S. Please follow this link for an interesting article from the WSJ.

By Flavio Quaranta | April 05, 2006 | E-Commerce , | News & Trends
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The Temporary Physical Virtual Store

J.C. Penney, one of the United States' largest online retailers of general merchandise, will construct a 4,000m2 temporary physical virtual store on Times Square in New York. From March 3 to March 26, shoppers will be able to purchase J.C. Penney's full range of merchandise at interactive kiosks (about 250,000 items are available on jcp.com). Special events and showcases will be held at the store during its few weeks of existence. (via BusinessWeek).

Does "blended retailing" (as in blended learning) represent a new trend or the future of e-commerce ? The strategy here, I guess, is to create a physical place whose atmosphere corresponds to your brand and put your customers in the mood for buying your products. Interactive kiosks also make your shop "lighter" and you could for instance move it from town to town every month or so. I am wondering if that kind of strategy would work in every business sector. The experiment could also be interesting for online brands. Take Amazon for example. Can you imagine a physical virtual Amazon store ? How would it look like ?

By Marc-Olivier Peyer | February 21, 2006 | E-Commerce , | News & Trends
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Flavio Quaranta
Associate Partner, Bathurst
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Internet Marketing Specialist

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