Friday, January 31, 2014

Is a coupon code costing you website sales?

There's a really interesting article and discussion over on the EKMPowershop website right now about Coupon Codes and whether having a field to enter a code on your website checkout is a good thing or not?

As Anthony Chesworth says: "Want your customers to feel they are being ripped off or losing out on a deal? Then make sure your online shop has a "Enter Coupon/Discount code" box on your shopping cart or checkout.

Every time I go on to a site that asks if I have a Deal Now I do the same as 90% of other users and go to Google and start searching and alot of the time I end up buying the products elsewhere."

You can follow the discussion here, including links to some more scientific research into the matter.

Personally I think it can be a problem, not least because when I see the field for a coupon I imagine that there must be coupons out there (even if that's erroneous) and it does feel a bit rum to be paying full whack.

What do you think?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sears Launches Points for Progress, Will It Matter?

<macys insitep>NASDAQ: Sears Holdings ( SHLD ) has suffered a 5.02% revenue decline over the past year. The company is taking many approaches to turn itself around. This is commendable. The problem is that they don't seem to be highly effective approaches.

Sears recently announced its Points for Progress program on its website. While FitStudio is a free online fit community, anyone who joins automatically becomes a Shop Your Way member.

Shop Your Way is the is Sears' best potential to grow its top line. The idea is for this loyalty program to attract more customers, and for existing customers to shop more at Sears thanks to savings on future purchases.

We'll take a look at FitStudio and the Points for Progress initiative to see if they have the potential to lead to increased Shop Your Way members, improved brand exposure, and ultimately, top-line growth.

FitStudio fit for profitable growth?
FitStudio's is a novel concept. This is how it works. You go to the website, register, get active by exercising and/or using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and earn points that can be used for future purchases at Sears, Kmart, or Lands' End. As part of the #Fitin14 challenge, if you walk or run 14 miles, then you will earn 5,000 points, or $5 in points. But that's not all the website offers.

If you visit FitStudio, then you will also find articles on various topics, including diet and nutrition, exercises, workouts, and motivation. You can also find a trainer in your local area. I explored this feature to determine its quality. It was impressive. You type in your city and state and a list of trainers will appear. You will see how far away that trainer is located, what they specialize in, their credentials, and what previous clients have said about their experiences with that trainer.

Another aspect of FitStudio is that you can buy fitness gear. That's a nice feature, and Sears will likely generate some sales. However, this isn't going to make much of an impact on Sears' top line. FitStudio is more about increasing Sears' exposure to consumers through new means.

If you're into fitness, then FitStudio might be a success for you, helping you reach your fitness goals. With Points for Progress, you can earn Shop Your Way points by tracking your fitness progress through FitBit, MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun, and Netpulse-enabled fitness equipment at more than 500 gyms across the U.S. and Canada. But if you're an investor, what does it mean? Since this initiative is all about increasing exposure, let's take a look at the site's exposure.

According to (global leader in website analytics), has a global traffic ranking of 244,001 and a domestic traffic ranking of 44,678. Not impressive, but direction is more important.

Over the past three months, the site's bounce rate has dropped 23% to 43.80%. The direction is a positive considering the bounce rate determines how many visitors view one page and leave. On the other hand, 43.80% is still too high for a bounce rate. This means that not enough new visitors aren't sold by the home page. Also over the past three months, pageviews-per-user has slipped 2.40% to 4.10, yet time-on-site has jumped 98% to 6:55. The latter is very impressive. It seems as though those who are interested remain interested.

Overall, FitStudio seems as though it has potential to be a success, but on what scale?

More impactful innovations
Macy's ( ) , a department store capable of stealing market share from Sears, has become the omnichannel leader for all retailers. Macy's has managed to successfully merge in-store, online, and mobile channels, making for more seamless shopping experiences for its customers.

Macy's has been investing heavily in technology as of late, and it has paid off in a big way. While Sears has suffered a revenue decline over the past year, Macy's has grown its top line 1.42% over the same time frame. This might not sound substantial, and it's not, but given the current consumer environment and the weakness in department stores overall, it's impressive. Also keep in mind that any Sears or J.C. Penney failures are likely to lead to market-share gains for Macy's.

The main problem for Sears is that it sells a broad range of products, but it doesn't sell a broad range of high-demand brands, and many of its other product categories can be found at a discount retailer like Wal-Mart ( ) .

If Sears has to compete with the likes of Wal-Mart, then it's fighting a steep uphill battle. Wal-Mart's $23 billion in annual operating cash flow allows it to reinvest in its business, including eight technology labs over the past three years. Therefore, Wal-Mart has much more potential for impactful technological advancements than Sears going forward. Sears generated operating cash flow of negative $694 million over the past 12 months.

The bottom line
It's good to see Sears continuously innovating to increase its brand exposure and attract more customers. However, while FitStudio, and its Points for Progress initiative, offers some upside potential, it isn't likely to be a big catalyst for increased Shop Your Way members, and ultimately, the top line. Keep in mind that joining FitStudio is free.

Sears is facing competition from all angles, its brand is dealing with negative sentiment, and its inability to generate positive cash flow will limit its upside potential. If you're looking to invest in a retailer with strong potential in technological innovation, which then has the potential to increase sales, then you might want to consider Macy's or Wal-Mart. Please conduct your own research prior to investing.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Amazon coupon codes 2014 Cell Phone deals discount up to 90% off

Reports about comments' content

PRLog (Press Release) - Jan. 23, 2014 - Find the best Amazon Coupon Cell Phone 2014 Deals Here! Amazon coupon codes is almost here and we will be listing the best cell phone deals a wide variety of retailers. Visit soon for updates and also the actual deals - Make sure to subscribe to out Amazon coupon codes email alert. Amazon coupon codes Cell Phone 2014 Deals are now live - check them out

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==>> Click link here to Amazon coupon codes Cell Phone 2014 Deals:

Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive all updates and deals for this year's 2014 Amazon coupon codes sale.

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==>> Click here to see Amazon coupon codes Cell Phone 2014 Deals for 2014:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bargain Advocate: How to organize and use your coupons

Last week we discussed various sources from which you can collect coupons. Assuming (which we all know we're not supposed to do and the reason why) you did your homework and have a stack of coupons to work with today, let's move on to how you can put those sweet little pieces of paper to work (to save the even sweeter pieces of paper that go into your wallet. You know, the green and white kind with faces on them.)

To repeat last week's disclaimers, I am in no way a Super Sale Guru, so if you are, apologies for the redundancy and feel free to shower me with your money-saving knowledge in a kind and loving email. This week's column is designed for folks who have never couponed or are not sure how to do it strategically.

A quick word about how to organize and sort your coupons. Everyone has a different method and it might take a bit of experimentation to find what works best for you. If you follow certain blogs with coupon databases and/or weekly coupon matchups featuring your favorite stores (a big one is; for the central Ohio region I enjoy I'd recommend organizing your coupons by the date they were issued. When I was in a particularly intense coupon phase, I put each week's coupon insert into a three-ring binder organized by the date in which they appeared in the paper. It was very easy to find a particular coupon referenced in a matchup if I could just flip to the correct date and clip as necessary.

(A coupon matchup, if you are not aware, is when someone matches up the sales in a store's weekly ad to any coupons that are currently in circulation. If you're interested in finding some online, do a web search for "[insert store here] coupon matchups." Be aware that some ads vary by region, so it's a good idea to cross-check the matchups with your local ad.)

You can either clip only the coupons you know you'll use or keep them all until their expiration. Lately I have been saving the ones I'll use and carrying them around with me in a quart-size Ziploc bag so they're with me at all times. High-tech, I know. I also have a mini accordion folder that could serve the same purpose and would allow me to sort coupons by category (baking, beverages, personal hygiene, etc.).

Once you land on an organizational system that works for you, it's time to begin cashing in those coupons!

I can't address every grocery and drugstore in a single column, so this will be pretty basic. But it's good information to know if you're just starting out and need some framework upon which to build your couponing skills.

* Familiarize yourself with your grocery store's coupon policy. Most stores post their policies online. These should address what specific types of coupons the store does and does not accept; whether the store stacks manufacturer's and digital coupons (meaning you can use both for a single item); whether or not the store doubles coupons and, if so, by how much (example: some stores double coupons up to $.99, others up to $.50. If you take a $.75 coupon to a store that doubles to $.99, you should save $1.50 on your purchase. Often coupon doubling policies vary by region, so check with your local branch if this is not spelled out.) It's not a bad idea to print this out and take it with you when you shop.

* Don't use all your coupons right away. Hold on to them until you can pair them with a sale so that you're making the most of your money. Would you rather save $.25 on a can of gourmet sardines when it's regularly priced at $10, or when it's on sale for $8.99? Sales typically go in cycles, and once you start paying attention to what is on sale when, you'll get a good feel for when prices on certain types of items will drop.

* Don't buy something just because you have a coupon for it. Especially if it's not something you'd usually buy anyway, or if the generic version of the product is cheaper even after the coupon is used for the name-brand item.

* If a manufacturer's coupon says, "Redeem at SuperMart" and even features the SuperMart logo, it doesn't necessarily mean SuperMart is the only place that coupon can be redeemed. Unless the coupon says "Redeemable only at AwesomeMart," you can use it at any other grocery store that accepts manufacturer's coupons.

* Pay attention to the fine print. Some coupons will not double regardless of where you're shopping. Also, just because a particular product is pictured on a coupon doesn't mean that's the only thing the coupon can be used for — check the wording on the coupon for exactly what products and sizes it covers.

* Don't be too hard on yourself at first. If you're just getting started, don't expect to come away from a grocery trip having spent $15 on $100 worth of groceries just because you used coupons. Start with one or two items and expand your repertoire from there. Keep an eye out for blogs that post coupon matchups and check them out before your next grocery trip to see what you might be able to use. Eventually, with practice, you can make it to Coupon Guru status.

Then your assignment is to email me and let me know what it feels like. And maybe send me a candy bar that you got for free with a coupon.

If you have any advice about couponing, suggestions about a frugal living topic or an idea for a future column, please email me at I'd love to hear from you!

Happy saving,


Monday, January 13, 2014

F^3 Lake Half Marathon: Discount Code


Looking for a race to shake winter up a bit? Check out the F^3 Lake Half Marathon coming up on Jan. 25. The race starts and ends in Montrose Harbor, stretching up and down 13.1 miles of Lake Michigan. It'll be chilly, but dress warmly and let the skyline distract you!

Registration is $70.00, but use the Best Offer "CAEB14" for $7.00 off of the fee. Participants all receive a technical long sleeve 1/4 zip shirt and a one-of-a-kind finisher's medal that doubles as a bottle opener-- perfect for the after party at Deuces and The Cubby Bear, sponsored by Goose Island Beer Co.

Sponsors will be on hand for injury questions, and giving out goodies like Muscle Milk and Clif Bars. There's a $2,000 prize purse for the top three male and female finishers too. For more information, check out their website, register here, and let us know: how are you shaking up your winter running?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

'Veronica Mars' TV Series To Stream On Amazon Prime

Review and Warners Bros Domestic TV Distribution have inked a deal to stream the Veronica Mars TV series exclusively on Amazon Prime. The series, starring Kristen Bell, will be available starting today, ahead of the March 14 premiere of the Veronica Mars movie, famously funded by a history-making Kickstarter campaign. The announcement comes a day after CBS and Amazon announced an exclusive streaming deal for upcoming CBS summer series Extant starring Halle Berry. The TV series,created by screenwriter Rob Thomas, first premiered in 2004. The show is set in the fictional town of Neptune, California, and follows a high school student (Bell) who moonlights as a private investigator under the tutelage of her detective father. The movie reached its Kickstarter goal of $2 million in just 10 hours back in March. At the end of the 31-day campaign, fans contributed $5.7 million, making Veronica Mars the number one funded project in the film category and the third-highest funded project in Kickstarter history. Here's today's full release:

SEATTLE-Jan. 9,, Inc. today announced that Prime Instant Video will be the exclusive online-only subscription home for streaming the TV series Veronica Mars in a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. Beginning today, Prime customers can enjoy all three seasons of the popular Warner Bros. Television series starring Kristen Bell, and get caught up just in time for the March 14 debut of the Veronica Mars movie.

"The Veronica Mars series has been popular on DVD and Amazon Instant Video for years, so we know how much Amazon customers love this iconic television show," said Brad Beale, Director of Digital Video Content Acquisition. "We are excited to become the exclusive subscription streaming home for Veronica Mars and to be able to offer the entire TV series to Prime members to enjoy at no additional charge. With the movie coming on March 14, both die-hard fans and new viewers can easily catch-up on this great show."

"We are thrilled to have Prime Instant Video as a digital distribution outlet for the Veronica Mars TV series," said Ken Werner, President, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. "Digital distribution platforms such as Amazon's and licensing deals such as this allow the consumer great opportunities whether they're die-hard fans who just can't get enough or a new consumer turned fan who has discovered a fabulous show with dozens of new episodes."

The Veronica Mars movie is coming to select theaters nationwide on March 14th and was made possible by a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign driven by fans of the television show. Launched by Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell, the Kickstarter campaign unleashed an unprecedented level of fan enthusiasm and support, reaching the project goal of $2 million in just 10 hours. At the end of the 31-day campaign, fans contributed $5.7 million, making Veronica Mars the number one funded project in the film category and the third-highest funded project in Kickstarter history. It is the most widely supported Kickstarter campaign ever with more than 91,000 backers, who have remained engaged throughout production with frequent behind-the-scenes updates from Thomas and the film's cast and crew. Amazon Payments handles all the payment processing for funds raised on all Kickstarter projects in the United States.

Veronica Mars is an American television series created by screenwriter Rob Thomas, which first premiered in 2004. The series is set in the fictional town of Neptune, California, and follows a high school student (Kristen Bell) who moonlights as a private investigator under the tutelage of her detective father.

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Buying Discount Baby Formula? Another Win for Perrigo!

<Best Dealsp>Swapping out branded products for store brands is a trend that's picked up steam since the Great Recession. However, eager-to-please parents have been less willing to make the shift to generic baby formula -- until now.

In yet another win for private-label giant Perrigo Company ( ) , high-profile recalls for well-known brands including Abbott Laboratories' ( ) Similac and Mead Johnson Nutrition Company's ( ) Enfamil have shifted more and more parents to store brands.

Recalling the past
Abbott and Johnson haven't done their marketing teams any favors in the past few years. Following the death of an infant in 2011, the media circled around Mead Johnson as retailers including Wal-Mart voluntarily pulled Enfamil from shelves. The media frenzy surrounding that story was one reason Mead saw its North American sales fall 12% year over year in the first quarter of 2012.

Abbott took a similar hit when it voluntarily recalled Similac in 2010. That caused Abbott's U.S. pediatric nutritionals business to sag 7% in 2010.

Couple those two high-profile fumbles with tightening post-recession purse strings, and the share of private-label formula is climbing steadily, improving from 11.2% to 12% over the past year.

Profiting from private labels
Of course, Perrigo is no stranger to taking market share from branded counterparts. The company has a long history of winning retail shelf space by offering cheaper versions of over-the-counter, or OTC, drugs such as cough syrup and painkillers.

Industrywide sales of private-label OTCs have grown to represent 35% of all OTC sales being collected across retail, and that share growth has increased Perrigo's revenue from those store-branded alternatives to $933 million in the first fiscal quarter of 2014. That was 21% higher than the same period a year ago.

And Perrigo believes there's plenty of running room left for growth, given that it launched 60 products in fiscal 2013 worth $130 million in annual sales and plans to launch 75 products in fiscal 2014 worth $190 million in annual sales.

Perrigo also thinks there's $10 billion in branded sales that could move to OTC over the next five years, and potentially a larger opportunity if drugs currently sold behind the counter, such as statins for lowering cholesterol, move out front.

Bulking up on formula
Sales of private-label baby formula fall under Perrigo's nutritional segment sales, and that business has been growing nicely.

Perrigo generated sales of just $171 million from the segment back in 2008. But the company racked up sales of more than $500 million in 2013.

The broader infant-formula category grew 2.7% in the year ending in September. Meanwhile, sales of private-label formula grew 7.7%. That helped lift Perrigo's nutritional segment sales 25% year over year to $129 million in the fiscal first quarter. The segment's operating margin also improved, increasing by nearly 1% to 11.7% in the quarter from the year prior.

Perrigo thinks it can grow that business even more thanks to larger, bulk containers and packaging that more closely resembles the branded version. Perrigo is also looking to increase sales by boosting its presence in overseas markets, such as China.

Going global
The push into overseas markets isn't limited to baby formula. The company just completed its merger with Ireland-based Elan in December.

As part of that deal, Perrigo lands a nice recurring royalty stream from the blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, which Elan co-marketed with NASDAQ: Biogen ( BIIB ) . Sales of Tysabri have grown by a compounded 19% over the past four years.

Biogen bought out the remaining rights it didn't own from Elan back in February 2013 for $3.2 billion. But Biogen remains on the hook for royalties that will hit 18% of Tysabri sales up to $2 billion and 25% of sales above $2 billion. Tysabri had sales of $1.6 billion in 2012 and $401 million in the third quarter, and a phase 3 trial for expanding the drug to include secondary progressive MS remains under way.

That deal not only gives Perrigo the Tysabri royalty stream,but also provides shareholder-friendly tax relief.

Perrigo forecasts the shift of its corporate tax structure out of the U.S. to Ireland will drop its tax rate from the mid 30% range to the high teens. Combined with operational overlap, the merger is expected to save the company $150 million a year.

Fool-worthy final thoughts
Across Perrigo's many businesses, the company expects fiscal 2014 sales to climb 12% to16% in fiscal 2014. It's also forecasting 23% to 25% operating margin and 13% to 18% EPS growth. Sales of nutritionals, including infant formula, will grow 8% to 12% this year. If that plays out as hoped, the company will generate $6.35 to $6.60 per share in earnings. That projection has analysts modeling for $8.01 in earnings per share in fiscal 2015, suggesting Perrigo will have plenty of profits to reward shareholders going forward.

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Dell's super-affordable 4K monitor to go on sale in January

<Reviewimg src="">Media savvy

Picking up a 4K PC monitor at a price point that won't leave your wallet sobbing in the corner of the room is now a reality, following a statement of intent from Dell.

Last month the company announced that it had a 28-inch 4K UHD monitor in the works, which it teased would come in at a sub-$1000 price point. As picked up by Forbes, Dell has now revealed at CES 2014 that the panel will retail at an even juicer $699 (around £425, or AUS$788).

The P2815Q totes a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution, colour depth of 1.073 billion colours, brightness of 300 cd/m2 and power consumption of 75w.

It also comes with a number of ports in tow - including DIsplayPort (v 1.21), Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI 1.4 (MHL 2.0), DisplayPort out (MST) and four USB 3.0 ports. Additionally, a pivot allows it to swing round 90 degrees into portrait mode.

What's the catch?

Unfortunately, though it's to be expected at this point, Dell's latest model has an anti-glare TN panel, which means that you won't be privy to the same wide viewing angles as an IPS display.

Gamers considering stumping up the cash for the P2815Q should particularly think twice. Though its 5ms response time is low enough, you'll be limited by its screen refresh rate of 30Hz when gaming using its native resolution and would have to lower it to 1920 x 1080 to play games at a smoother 60Hz.

If that doesn't bother you, you'll be able to board the 4K train when it's released globally on January 23.