Posts Tagged ‘online retailing’

Personal shopper services (and the SQ plane fire)

I cannot imagine what it is like to be on a plane that has engine problems and catches fire upon landing. I’m glad everyone (222 passengers, 19 crew) are safe.

I was just taking a long haul flight myself and wondering why they bother showing the safety video, since these days you don’t really find the need for such things (planes disappear; they crash; you rarely hear about how putting on one’s lifejacket saved your life).

As an aside, a lot of the photos (and a video) seem to come from a Ms. Lee Bee Yee, who was presumably flying to Milan to perform “personal shopping” services (she is the proprietor of a site called Premium Mall). A simple search of her name reveals that she’s been 43 for quite sometime! Emerging Trend of Online Retailers Attempting to Evade GST Jan/Feb 2015, Singapore Airlines plane catches fire on Changi Airport runway; no injuries reported. I’m sure there are such “personal shoppers” operating in Malaysia too; I can only imagine what happens when customs catches up.

The Star in Malaysia recently reported that the future might be personal shoppers, in Parkson’s decline a sign of the times for retail stores. The whole article is worth a read, because Malaysia in this respect, seems “backwards” to what is taking much of the retail world by storm (key: nationwide e-commerce needs to rock; too much just focus on the Klang Valley). But the fancy quote for one to think about:

The future wave could be the birth of “personal shoppers” where they shop for others for a fee.

A “personal shopper” acts as a conduit to connect individual purchasers with online websites in other countries such as the United States that do not provide delivery services of their products to this part of the world.

The personal shopper takes down orders, secures an appropriate price and sources for the products in a foreign country. The personal shopper then handles the delivery from the foreign country to the customer.

And it is all done at a fraction of a cost compared to what the boutiques charge.

At the moment, celebrities generally engage the services of “personal shoppers” also known as “personal groomers” to source for their clothes.

In recent times, services of “personal shoppers” have been engaged by professionals and the working crowd to get the best bargains from the Internet.

Motivation: pay new employees to quit

This is an interesting way to motivate your employees: pay new employees to quit.

Zappos sells shoes online. Their new employee hiring process? Spend a month getting trained, and immersed on the company’s culture, strategy and its obsession with customers, and at the end of it all, ask if people want to quit, plus give them a $1,000 bonus to do so. Why?

  • Shows one’s commitment level to the company
  • This way you’ll keep the most motivated employees around
  • Some people may have signed up for the job, and after a month’s training realise, that its not for them… Its an easy exit path
  • Keep employees engaged

Zappos only loses about 10% of their new employees this way. And they’re all the better. The leaving bonus started at $100, moved up to $500, and now its $1,000 (they will increase this as the company expands). They are large – 1,600 employees and growing.

From what I gather, they have a very connected culture… Their CEO has a blog, most of their employees are on Twitter, and they really are obsessed with customers – read I Heart Zappos. This is Customer Relationship Management 2.0!

Definitely a thing or two to learn from the way Zappos operates. From a business perspective, it just goes to show that while it might have made sense to sell books online (Amazon), it also definitely makes sense to sell personal items like shoes (Zappos) and designer clothing (Net-a-porter) online too. Items that one might think are too personal to buy at the click of a button…