By Rob Duncan

The Internet has made comparing prices before buying easy. Consumers love getting the best deals and are more price-conscious than ever before. Unfortunately, more comparison-shopping can mean lower profit margins and increased competition for many of today’s retailers. Retailers must find new ways to operate faster and leaner. Every area of a retailer’s business is now under intense scrutiny, and divisions previously thought of as “expense” centers are being required to either generate revenue or be eliminated, including call center operations.

The New World of Consumer Research

By Cliff Courtney

People make decisions on impulse. They decide what to buy with their hearts, not with their heads. So if you think for a second that you can quantify the emotional triggers of consumer behavior – the mysterious “why” people buy what they do – with traditional research, then perhaps it would be better to stand in a lightning field with a glass bottle and take your best shot. The fact is, the only way to understand what makes people tick is studying them while they’re ticking, and that calls for dogma heresy. Specifically, in the same way that buzz or word of mouth is now an actionable media tactic, research, too, can integrate consumers and researchers in a more organic way.

Retailing has evolved from single channel to multichannel. Now, multichannel is evolving further into the omni-channel, leveraging various customer touchpoints including mobile, social, kiosks, online, in-store, etc., to create a seamless customer experience that presents new opportunities for even more sophisticated targeting.

A Hidden Risk for Retail

By Susan Childers North

Smart retailers will periodically take a step back to contemplate their overall risk footprints. But naturally, the focus during such exercises tends to be on those risks that seem most immediate – fighting “shrinkage” by sticky-fingered employees, say, or finding ways to lower the number of lawsuits filed against the chain. Nonetheless, routine occurrences in retail – things like a manager asking a job candidate to fill out a medical questionnaire, or perhaps just walking in on a break-room conversation in which an employee gripes about her health – carry a hidden risk.

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and Green Friday to Super Saturday, holiday shopping took over the retail world these last couple months. And while the holidays are finally upon us, depending on what you celebrate, it's still not too late to pick up that last-minute gift or stocking stuffer. RM has some suggestions from some of our favorite brands below.

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