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Five Fashion Apps & Sites to Watch in 2012

fashion apps

From online retail sites to mobile apps, last year was all about fashion websites/apps. ShoeMint (all the Mint properties, really), Moda Operandi, OpenSky. The list can go on and on. But 2012 will be even bigger and better. Fashion technology is rapidly growing thanks to new apps and sites that are shaking up the digital space, offering users a chance to dive into their closet and rediscover their style.

From selling your clothes back to booking discount beauty appointments, the new wave of apps and websites make being a gal so much easier.

Here is a list of the 5 Apps and Sites I’m keeping an eye on (and you should too):

Reqoop Mobile Fashion App

Reqoop Mobile Fashion App

1. ReQoop: Do you ever find something amazing at a store, snap a picture, then forget where you were when you found said amazingness? It happens to me all the time! However, enter ReQoop, the newest mobile app that allows you to take pictures of items at your favorite store, upload them to the site, then share them with other users. It’s like having a personalized catalog with items from all of your favorite stores!

Buyosphere Mobile Fashion App

Buyosphere Mobile Fashion App

2. Buyosphere: The best part about having a personal stylist is being able to ask them all sorts of questions. Where to purchase things, what kind of items you should stick with, etc. Instead of paying for a pricey stylist, try using Buyosphere, a website that tracks your purchases and gives you the chance to host your own Q/A with your fellow shoppers. Need to find a white maxi dress? Ask Buyosphere. Want to know what is trending in colors? Ask Buyosphere. It basically acts as your personal shopper! What could be greater than that?

Lifebooker Mobile Fashion and Beauty App

Lifebooker Mobile Fashion and Beauty App

3. Lifebooker: When it comes to beauty treatments, you need to book appointments fast. You don’t have time for chit-chat nor do you want to sit on the phone for an hour trying to find an open spot on your stylist’s calendar. You want something quick and relatively cheap that leaves you looking gorgeous. Thanks to LifeBooker, you can search  for salon, spa and beauty deals near you. Getting your eyebrows waxed now is almost painless.

Poshmark Mobile Fashion App

Poshmark Mobile Fashion App

4. Poshmark: Move over, eBay. Poshmark is here to make your clothes reselling experience 10x more enjoyable. With Poshmark, you can browse a fellow fashion girl’s closet, sell your (gently) worn designer clothes, and participate in virtual meetups and shopping parties. With its secure database and easy interface, it has never been easier to make money of off your wardrobe’s neglected pieces.

MADE Fashion Week Mobile Fashion App

MADE Fashion Week Mobile Fashion App

5. MADE Fashion Week: Thanks to Milk Made, fashion’s cutting edge resource and studio, runway collections can be delivered straight to your smartphone. Users get live access to collections, share favorite looks with social media followers and learn more about designers. For every blogger who attends fashion week and can’t be at every show, this is your best friend. Or, for the fashion lover who wants front-row access, this app gives you an up-close-and-personal view of Milk Studio’s hottest collections.

 

Source: heartifb.com

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Mobile Applications In Fashion

The definition of application, as described by the Oxford dictionary, is ‘practical use or relevance’. When a brand launches an mobile application, it should always benefit the end user and therefore the brand. In 2008, for obvious economics reasons, luxury brands like D&G, Chanel and Hugo Boss, where forced away from their traditional way of advertising and had to look at other possibilities.

2009 was the year that, nearly all high end fashion brands launched their own mobile application. It was an obvious choice for these brands to go in this direction.
The iPhone made mobile applications possibly and was, at that time, mainly used by early adopters and high-end customers. Both groups are a very interesting target audience for luxury brands. Chanel was the first to jump into this adventure by launching their ‘app’ in June 2008. Soon other high fashion brands followed Chanel’s example and app’s seem to pop up like mushrooms.

The launched app’s have a couple of aspects in common. They are all free of charge, they have a store locator and show their latest collections. Only a few brands have thought about the relevance and practical use for the customer.

Hugo Boss helps its customers with a color matching issues. You make a photo of the item you want to where, and Hugo Boss gives you several options of colors that go well with it.

Another good example is the app DKNY made when they introduced the DKNY Cozy. The DKNY Cozy is a sweater that can be worn in 21 different ways. The app shows all 21 ways, in three simple steps.

But the luxury brands need to step up their game. Now that more phones can download applications, the market has grown and the expectations of their users with it. Especially the expectations of the early adopters and the high end customers, in other words, their target audiences. It’s time for the high fashion brands to regroup and think of the practical use of their application for the customer. Maybe Prada will also launch an app.

Source: viralblog.com by Paul Braat

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How the iPad Can Help Fashion Magazines

How many readers of fashion magazines treat them as catalogues? Magazine readers are known to seek out information from, and then buy products  featured in magazines. To accommodate, the modern magazine   has a catalogue-like structure:  it tells us  brand names and prices  and lists stockist details toward the back pages. New digital magazine formats could make this  system even more  user-friendly, by packaging magazines into iPad applications that not only allow us to find what we’re looking for but share what we’re into with our social networks.

Interview Magazine was the first fashion magazine to launch an application for the iPad, and  they did it particularly well. The application is unquestionably useful for readers, and hints towards bigger benefits for brands seeking product placement and advertising. The  app allows the imagery and text within the magazine to be enhanced with additional video and audio content,  enables direct linking to e-commerce sites, and offers the ability to share products via Facebook and Twitter. You can watch a demo of the magazine’s app here.

This technology can benefit featured brands by increasing exposure to social media channels, as readers are given the capability to easily ‘like’ or ‘tweet’ an item, obtaining greater reach than through readership numbers alone.

Product placement and advertising also becomes more accountable. Brands can receive data not only on impressions, but on ‘likes’, ‘shares,’ ‘tweets’ and emailing. They can also track the actions of incoming traffic to their e-commerce sites, which means a direct evaluation of the number of readers interested in a product. The end result: fashion magazines investing in iPad applications may become even more powerful vehicles for product placement and advertisements.

Magazines have achieved a similar effect through other digital platforms such as the iPhone and the web. The fashion retailer ASOS’s branded magazine has capitalized on the digital  format, displaying products in an editorial style and linking those products back to their online catalogue. Yet Interview’s Scott Lambert rates the iPad as superior, stating it to be a magazine’s showcase in its ‘purest form, slick, sexy and portable.’

Launching digitally on the iPad also ensures that readers pay for content by purchasing the iPad app. Interview charges 99c for the app, the same price as their subscription rates.

The advantages for both readers and brands are clear, and magazines have the potential to become powerful social catalogues.

[Image: Interview Magazine]

Source: Socialmedianz.com

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Social Media and Luxury Brands: A New Era

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Stephane Galienni, founder and director of digital media experts BalistikArt, explains the leading digital marketing technologies and how they relate to luxury brands.

2010 was a turning point for luxury brands in their conquest of the digital world. With the new opportunities provided by social media – where the conversation takes place – and by the blogosphere – where opinions are voiced about brands – a major shift has occurred. From a society of communication, we have moved to a society of recommendation.

Today we are experiencing a mobile and social Internet, ruled by the notion of “every time, everywhere” in which the C-to-C conversation becomes permanent and real-time and is held in a written mode. A French proverb says: “Words are fleeting, writings remain” and Google is always there to remind us of this. Social media can become uncontrollable for prestigious houses, as was recently experienced by Guerlain.

To ignore what is happening in social media is like delegating the brand’s power of expression to the first passerby. Digital strategy in luxury is not about a marketing operation using a 2.0 “Swiss army knife” with its array of gadgets. It is a true anticipation of the future communication challenges for the luxury industry.

Twitter, how to reflect timelessness in real time

Early 2009, no luxury house was to be found on Twitter. Today, they almost all have their Twitter feed, with the difficulty of reflecting their rich heritage in 140 characters. Why is writing the story of an esteemed brand in real time so complicated? Literary inspirations and creative storytelling can enrich the live feed of a luxury house. Imagine the experience of discovering an unfolding story around the Hermès “Echappée belle” ad campaign, or regular telegraphs sent by a Vuitton traveller.

Facebook, luxury masstige

Facebook, with its 580 million members around the world, is a further godsend to luxury masstige and in particular for fragrance and small leather goods. The dream becomes accessible to all with one click, from fan page to e-commerce. The hundreds of thousands of fans who join the pages of luxury brands are voluntary and motivated, but unlike the customers who enter a store, there is often no one to say: “Hello, can I help you?”

Social Relationship Management, or SRM, is an initial response to social media strategies, because luxury is primarily a matter of customer service. Social Relationship Managers can provide a daily service similar to that of a butler or concierge, listening and providing personal advice for each of its customers or fans.

Front Row Bloggers

It is now common practice to have bloggers in the front row of fashion shows, as they are the first to tweet live and quick to post articles on a new collection. Bloggers are content creators, passionate and technically savvy, capable of getting the word out on Google faster than online magazines. The paradox of embargoed press releases and information leakage on the blogosphere is a new issue of communication timing in a digital environment. PR departments have to rethink their methods so that they can address different audiences simultaneously by developing a form of transversal storytelling.

What is next? If social media was the trend in 2010, in particular with the spectacular acceleration of Facebook, 2011 will be the year of the mobile web. The QR code technology, for example, opens new opportunities for luxury advertising as it provides content to mobile users from a billboard or a point of sale. With a pocket internet connection and geolocation-based services, the media is closer than ever to the end user and offers a fabulous new perspective on brand content.

Source: Luxurysociety.com

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Fashion Cocktail of Tradition & Technology

In the dynamic world of fashion, what is the current trend? Inaugurating technology with the alluring concepts of fashion!

Fashion retailing is a complex business with growing competition among the retailers. Augmentation of trends has revolutionized the retail business; amicable to all that fashion is an integral part of the retail industry as well as brands. Fashion retailers today, are more concerned, with technology as their new sales mantra. Brands and retailers focus on new and attention grabbing techniques to allure the customers. The latest progress in the retail field is the application of various technological processes to attract, convince and sell to the customers.

Digital Fashion Magazines:

Gone are the times, when one flips through the pages of a fashion magazine to get a glimpse of the latest trends and styles. The novel digital market offers the fashion savvy shoppers with all the perks of print media, along with the nearness and information of the current days technological advancements. Discounted apparels and other fashion accessories can be found online proving a distinguished successful market for fashion clothing and other accessories. This makes shopping, an easier task with astute styles of apparels ready and available for buying.

3D Body Scanning Application in Apparel Making:
3D Body scanning technology produces a 3D model through scanning. An individual stands in the scanners view, while it captures his body image and produces 3D images within seconds. The scanner uses a series of light sensors to produce a 3D image. Images are captured in 360 degrees within a short period of time along with body measurements and human body surface. This data is then forwarded to the manufacturer who uses his creativeness and creates the garment in a very short time with the exact measurements that matches the consumer.

This technology provides real time information to the apparel industry, wherein clothes will be manufactured with attached labels mentioning the bust, waist, and hip sizes thereby guiding the consumers to select a garment with perfect fittings.

Virtual Try-on Solutions:

This process provides the customer with a virtual image of how he or she will look in a particular garment. General information about the consumer like, small waist, narrow shoulders, long hair etc is entered in the computer. The software in the computer develops an image of the consumer based on these descriptions and displays it on the screen.

The consumer can make modifications on the displayed virtual image so as to match it with himself. The computer then displays various types of garments on the screen. The consumer chooses different types of clothing and tries them on his virtual image available on the computer screen.

The computer applies this clothing image on the virtual image of the consumer created and displays the picture on the screen. The image is also rotated in 360 degrees so that the consumer can get a perfect idea of the fitting. The computer highlights areas of good and bad fit, and guides the consumer to select the most appropriate apparel.

Mobile Point of Sale (POS):

Point of Sale (POS) is a location where customers pay and buy the goods. Generally during peak sales period, there would a long queue of customers waiting for their turn to pay the bill. Sales counters are of fixed size, and hence support limited number of customers forcing them to endure long lines.
Mobile POS stations are being set up with handheld computers, printers, and scanners with credit card readers. Salesmen with these mobile POS terminals can be positioned in small tables, accelerating the buying process. Merchandise is scanned with a barcode scanner and a ticket is printed with prices and a master barcode on it. When the customer reaches the checkout counter, the ticket is scanned, and cash is collected, thus completing the transaction without the checkout clerk needing the process each item individually.

RFID in Apparel Retailing:

During the peak seasons of sales, manual process break down. Staff members become besieged, and cannot be replenished. RFID enables the retailers to confirm the items that need to be refilled, and makes sure that the apparels are available on the store racks when customers want to buy them.

Retailers today are making optimum utilization of the internet and leveraging its social benefits. Though their techno savoir-faire is utilized in novel methods, shoppers will be motivated to buy only according to their requirements. Hence it is also important for the retailers to keep abreast of the customer psychology knowing their current choices and preferences to as to retain their customers in the years to come.

Source: Fibre2fashion.com

To read more about RFID, what it is, does and the benefits for the apparel industry, check this article: RFID in Apparel Industry: What is it, How it Works and the Benefits.

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Why Mobile Holds the Key to the Future

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Just like the e-commerce and blog sceptics before them, those who doubt the importance of m-commerce and mobile marketing will be exposed as short-sighted

Contrary to popular belief, mobile is not just a new medium that will win attention. Instead, it represents a continued trust in a brand and its values which translate to a new channel for marketing and commerce. And as more consumers transfer their online shopping habits to mobile devices, this means the biggest beneficiaries will be those luxury brands which consumers trust across all channels – mobile included.

“Affluent and wealthy consumers are embracing mobile functionality and mobile applications,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute in New York. “Right now they’re doing it for things that are a little mundane, but also for important things like financial services and financial information, and they have downloaded luxury brands’ apps.”

“Younger consumers have downloaded more than older consumers, but as devices get easier to use and as more people buy mobile devices with better screens, I think you’ll see mobile becoming a far more important device – even more important than the PC in terms of interacting with consumers,” he said. “It’s going to become a mobile world and luxury brands need to be really prepared.”

Finding the fit

All indications point to more luxury brands starting to advertise on mobile ahead of a fully-fledged mobile commerce presence over the next couple of years.

Prestige players such as Polo Ralph Lauren and Toyota’s Lexus have made waves and moved the needle. Each has taken an early initiative in targeting consumers with mobile advertising and each by integrating interactive components.

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Neiman Marcus’s Christmas Book, Lexus advertising page on Esquire and R.L. Gang, the Ralph Lauren’s storybook for its children line

For example, Lexus placed a full-page rich-media ad in the launch edition of male lifestyle magazine __Esquire__’s iPad application. The unit prompted users to manipulate a digital graphic using their fingers to launch a 30-second video shot for the brand’s national “Drive Precision” campaign. Consumers could then find out more information about Lexus’ IS line of sedans and locate nearby dealerships to schedule an appointment.

Ralph Lauren, which was awarded 2010 Luxury Marketer of the Year, launched a shoppable storybook called “R.L. Gang” that promoted its children’s fashion line. The company placed a banner ad in The New York Times’ Editors Choice iPad application that drove awareness of, and traffic to, the initiative.

The storybook ran a plot narrated by entertainer Harry Connick Jr. that featured characters wearing Ralph Lauren items. Users could click the characters to shop the items online or on their iPads. The feature was viewed 131,000 times across channels, generating more than 100 million impressions worldwide, and drove a 250% increase in sales over the corresponding period in 2009.

Other luxury brands such as the automaker Bentley and watch manufacturer IWCShaffhausen have converted their branded magazines into interactive applications. Mercedes-Benz even integrated the iPad into its point-of-sale system, enabling dealers to conduct transactions on the showroom floor using the mobile technology.

Retail detail

Another example of a luxury brand looking to navigate the new marketing ecosystem by integrating mobile into its sales strategy is the storied US luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus.

“Even if you do have a great contact strategy, it doesn’t matter if your customer is disappointed with your lack of multichannel integration,” said Gerald Barnes, president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Direct, at the Luxury Interactive conference in New York in June. “Multichannel integration is key to prove that we’re customer-centric, 21st-century luxury retailers.”

“When you think about the customer, the customer just really expects you to get the merchandise from wherever the merchandise comes from,” he said. “You need to be able to move back and forth between your own channels.”

The retailer fully mobilized its entire product catalogue this summer, making it available on a mobile commerce site compatible with any web-enabled handheld device.

“Our strategy is to enable our customer to shop with us anywhere she wants to, any time she wants to, from any place she wants to,” said Ginger Reeder, vice president of corporate communications at Neiman Marcus. “To that end, NeimanMarcus.com is on a mobile-friendly site and we are seeing increased usage.”

“ Multichannel integration is key to prove that we’re customer-centric, 21st-century luxury retailers ”

Additionally, the brand has launched two mobile applications: NM Editions for the iPad and NM Gift for the iPhone. NM Editions creates a unified platform for viewing all of Neiman Marcus’ publications such as its annual Christmas Book that was released in early fall. Consumers can select and buy items from the catalogues within the application, which is available for free in Apple’s App Store.

The NM Gifts application lets consumers browse and buy from Neiman Marcus’ full selection of holiday gifts. It also integrates the iPhone’s accelerometer technology to create a more interactive shopping experience, letting consumers shake their devices to generate gift suggestions at random.

“When you look at the way [luxury retailers] reach and connect with consumers today, the old model where consumers are loyal to one channel of distribution has gone by the wayside,” said Pam Danziger, president of US-based firm Unity Marketing. “Marketers need to be reinforcing relationships across all channels, because that’s how consumers are shopping.”

“Neiman has done a whole lot of work in understanding this cross-channel mix and bringing the channels together into a unified marketing strategy,” she said.

Just check in

While success stories abound of luxury brands effectively tapping mobile’s potential for driving conversions, the actual development process can be tricky.

“I think the challenges are, specifically, when you first build a mobile site or application, it’s the first time you have done something,” said Christoph Oberli, vice president of e-commerce at the Mandarin Oriental. “You basically don’t know what you don’t know, and the learning experience can be a challenge.”

Mandarin Oriental had to address such concerns early in the development process for its slate of mobile properties, which includes a website and an iPhone app, as well as a forthcoming iPad app. One challenge the company faced was in understanding what its target consumers wanted out of a mobile offering.

“You really need to understand your customer if you want to build a mobile presence – and even more so because it’s such a small screen,” Oberli said. “When you’re in such close proximity to your customer, you need to really understand the customer and what it is they want to do on a mobile site and build around that. That’s a prerequisite more than a challenge.”

The Mandarin Oriental PC website has the most content and images, whereas the mobile site is a spare experience that focuses on maximizing utility and minimizing clutter by providing only relevant information for individual travellers. Meanwhile, the application includes information dedicated to bringing destinations surrounding the brand’s hotels and serves more as a travel guide than the other platforms, while also enabling bookings.

“Our mobile site was a big push first, and led to a lot of visits and a decent amount of bookings,” Oberli said. “The application was built in a later stage and was more of an engaging tool.”

“All three of our platforms – the website, the mobile site and the app – are trying to form online touch points for our customers, and have slightly different purposes,” he said. “In other words, there is some consistent content across all three platforms, then some very specific items for each platform.”

Another challenge is development.

“We’re a small company, so we don’t have in-house development teams,” Oberli said. “With virtually everything we do, we work with a third party. The beauty of that is, as a luxury brand, you need to build the absolute best. Whatever you do has to be top quality everywhere.”

“In our case, we have worked with solid partners who built apps and mobile sites before, so we could alleviate some of that danger [of inexperience],” he said.

What now?

The luxury industry, at large, faces a few challenges in terms of mobile engagement. The first is that many luxury brands are still working to understand how to execute e-commerce strategies. Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan have only launched e-commerce-enabled websites in 2010. For such brands, mobile will be a catch-up game.

What’s more, many other luxury brands are reticent to adopt mobile commerce strategies for fear that they might lose some of their prestige and mystique by making items available on a sales channel even further removed from the traditional showroom experience than e-commerce is. Consumers, however, are shopping across channels. And mobile is becoming a bigger piece of the equation.

“Mobile enables luxury brands to reach consumers at each step in the marketing funnel – awareness, trial, persuasion and loyalty,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Luxury Daily (1). “The consumer is already on mobile – don’t fall too far behind.”

Source: Luxurysociety.com

(1) Luxury Daily is a trade publication covering luxury marketing and retail

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Marketing Methods and Trends – What’s New for 2011?

We are one year into a new decade and we have all seen the shift in how we market and reach consumers. In order to be efficient in marketing, it’s important to realize what will work and what marketing methods are being left by the wayside. Now, with that being said please understand that my statement of trends is broad and may not reach your specific demographic. For example, if you serve a senior market a yellow page may very well still bring in customers for you, but if your customer is under the age of 60 it’s best to put those dollar elsewhere.

This year there are five marketing methods and trends that I’ll be watching with a close eye. We’ve seen many changes over the last few years and this year will be no different. Trends and methods that I’ll be watching closely this year include:

 

 

 

 

Mobile Marketing

In a report done by CTIA Wireless Association it was reported that 250+ million Americans carry mobile phones – that’s over 80% of the nations population. Mobile applications will continue to be developed and smartphones and tablet PCs will remain a part of our daily lives. It’s no longer just about mobile access to email, messaging, calendars and websites. We will see more location based services, mobile gaming, applications, and event-based mobile marketing. We’ve been inundated with new technology from Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Google’s Android integration. I guarantee it won’t stop there, we will continue to see mobile marketing innovations throughout 2011 and beyond. We will see new devices, faster speeds, and location based technologies integrated with one another. If you are a marketer and you’ve not explored the avenue of mobile marketing, this is your year. Get on the bus or get left behind.

Social Marketing Integration
In 2010 companies began to take social media marketing seriously and because of that we saw social media explode as a marketing tool. This year we will begin to see companies integrate social media into their overall marketing plan, which is how it should have been done in the first place, but better late than never. We will see social media expand from a tool used primarily for customer service and brand management to being used to collect customer data and enable better target marketing of products and services that those customer are interested.

Traditional Marketing Continues to Diminishes
This is always a touchy subject, because there are so many that don’t want to say goodbye to the traditional marketing. Interactive or real-time marketing is easy to measure, engage and gain real time statistics that allows us to change a marketing message quickly. Customers are continuing to go online to search for information and in return making their purchases online. It’s important that marketers move their marketing dollars to where the consumers are and right now that’s making a gigantic shift to online. Internet marketing enables us to reach targeted audiences online, advertising costs are lower and they are easier to measure. What’s not to love about interactive marketing? Overall marketing budgets will continue to shift to a higher spend online and the traditional marketing spend will continue to diminish.

Consumers Will Determine Value
In today’s economy consumers are watching their pennies and because of this they will only spend on purchases that they consider to be of value. They will continue to seek value in every dollar spent and they will determine whether it’s value, not you. Consumers no longer purchase just because an item is on sale, rather they will justify every dollar spent. This means you must marketing the value of your product or service in order to get consumers to open their wallets – if there is no value, they simply will not purchase.

Regulations Abound
This is a trend that makes many of us as marketers anxious. It’s been apparent in the last six months that the FTC is looking at regulating the online industry. We started a few years ago with disclosures for blog reviews and paid endorsements. As recent as last week we saw rules passed regarding Net Neutrality and the FTC exploring a “Do Not Track” mechanism that would regulate the tracking of consumer behavior online and the calculation of data. I’m not sure how this will play out in the next year and beyond, but I do believe we will see regulations implemented when it comes to the internet industry and many of those regulations will affect us as marketers.

Relationships will Drive Loyalty and Sales
I listed this last year, but I believe it will still hold true in 2011. Customers want to know they matter to you and your staff. They evaluate now more than ever how they are treated, whether or not your business cares about their satisfaction. Gone are the days that they just purchase out of convenience. If you can give the best customer care, you will find that you will create consumers that are loyal to you, regardless of whether or not you have the least expensive price. They realize that in tough economic times their loyalty to you could be the life or death of your business and that’s often why they will go out of their way to spend their hard-earned dollars in your place of business – if you have helped in creating loyalty by giving them extraordinary care.

Source: Marketing.about.com By 

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