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Retail experience expert Doug Fleener argues that the more you know about your customer, the more enjoyable the customer experience will be… and the more you can sell. By going beyond basic customer knowledge, you can personalize the shopping experience, recommend specific products and exceed expectations.

Fleener breaks customer knowledge into three different types:

• Surface information
• Customer-specific knowledge
• Customer understanding

 

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qr codeEver wonder about those square black and white symbols that are cropping up in advertisements, flyers, and even movie posters and billboards? They’re called QR – short for Quick Response – Codes. QR Codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned by smart phones in order to transfer information. Depending on the type of code, the QR Code might take the viewer to a website, provide text information about a product or service, or deliver a coupon or special offer.  

While the codes have been in widespread use only recently in the U.S., they’re big in Japan, where they began being used in mobile devices in 2002. (The codes themselves were developed in 1994 by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in order to track inventories.) In Japan – where more people surf the web via their phones than their computers – more than half of Japanese cell phone users use QR Codes to access information, according to Marsha A. Harmon in Point of Sale News.

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A recent article on The Street takes a look at "daily deal" sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, which deliver discounts of up to 50% off local stores, restaurants, and experiences, straight to consumers' email inboxes. While many merchants have used these promotions successfully to attract new business and increase brand awareness, the article suggests that, over time, consumers will get tired of too much of a good thing.

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“During our review of your account, we uncovered a suspicious transaction on your account. To ensure that your account has not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”

The message above is typical of a “phishing” email, in which scam artists send consumers an email impersonating a legitimate business, such as a bank, credit card company, or even a government agency. The message may prompt you to “update,” “validate,” or “confirm” your account information and warn of terrible consequences if you don’t respond. Clicking on the link in the email will take you to a copycat website that may look just like the real thing. Be warned: the phishing website’s sole purpose is to collect your personal information so that the site operators can steal your identity.

The Federal Trade Commission suggests taking these precautions so that you don’t get hooked by a phishing scam:

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If you have an email address, chances are you’ve received at least one email impersonating a bank or credit card company. These emails, known as “phishing” schemes, are designed to drive customers to enter their personal information on fake websites. While some of these emails are so obviously fake you might wonder how anyone would fall for them, others look identical to the real thing.

On July 28, the leader of a phishing ring that scammed 38,000 victims was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Tien Truong Nguyen was found guilty of stealing personal banking information via copycat banking websites which he designed. Read More

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