Friday, January 29, 2016

Is all-day breakfast the only reason McDonald's had a strong 4th quarter?

In October 2015, McDonald's launched breakfast all day.  Initially there were some concerns that a typical lunch yields more profits than breakfast.  But with the posting of their best quarterly sales in four years it seems like it was a good move.  Still was it the only reason sales were up?  Probably not.

The unusually warm weather in November and December might have played a role. 

But the thing I'm most curious about is the new McDonald's app, downloaded by seven million people since July.  It offers a free McCafe drink after five purchases, a "new offer" every week and exclusive content and coupons.  I'm surprised they weren't already doing this.  It's perfect for their mobile millennial customers. (Forbes, 2016)

Likewise the new value menu introduced earlier this month -- "McPick 2" will probably be appealing as will the new chicken sandwich and Pico Guacamole and Buffalo Bacon burgers. (Jargon, 2016)

On the other hand, I think their core customer is probably less interested in greater transparency about how McDonald's food is made and plans for antibiotic free chicken and cage free eggs.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

2/3/16 update: I just saw in today's Wall Street Journal  that Chipotle's same store sales were down 14.6% in 4Q 2015 due to the e-coli outbreak, so that could be another significant factor in McDonald's success for the quarter.  BTW, when Taco Bell experienced their e-coli outbreak in 2006, it took them over a year to recover so the effect could linger.

Forbes, T. (2016, January 26)  All-Day Breakfasts Draw A Crowd at McDonald's.  Retrieved January 28, 2016, from

Jargon, J. (2016, January 26)  All-Day Breakfast Fuels McDonald's.  Wall Street Journal.  pB1

Friday, January 22, 2016

So B&H, if I do your job does that mean you'll do mine?

I miss the days when I could go into a store, see something that I liked, buy it with cash and be done with it. 

Now it seems like whenever I buy something -- online or off, I am expected to take a quiz.  Why?  Don't you know if your employees are doing a good job or not?  That's what managers are for.  Or you could listen to the tapes. 

This morning Casablanca asked me to stay on the line for a short survey about my fan.  I agreed because I wanted to vent my dissatisfaction.  But I never got a chance.  Because once I said I wasn't happy with Casablanca and wouldn't recommend them, they hung up on me.  I guess that's one way to make sure you don't have to report customer complaints.

Speaking of customer complaints, how long does it take to answer one?  Radio Shack acknowledged receiving my emailed complaint on 9/12/16, but have yet to address it.  Seriously? 

Which brings me back to B&H, who seems to have found a novel solution to their customer service questions -- outsource them to customers.  Yes, the other day they sent me an email telling me that someone had a question about a product that I bought -- would I like to answer it.   

Sure.  Just as soon as you put me on payroll.

All these companies seem to have forgotten that it costs 6-7 times more to get a new customer than to retain an old one.  (Rampton, 2015)   

How silly of them.  Here's an article from Huffpost to remind them why they should step up their game. 

Rampton, J. (2015, December 15)  Top 5 Reasons Customers Churn.  Retrieved 1/21/16, from

Friday, January 15, 2016

Note to Calvin Klein, I left something in my cart because your website was broken.

It all started when I bought something from the Calvin Klein website.  Normally I would unsubscribe from their emails as soon as my purchase arrived.  But since I thought I might buy a second item if I was happy with the first one I did not do so.. 

A short time later I received an email alerting me to a sale so I went onto the site to make an additional purchase.  I made my selection, put the item in my shopping cart and stopped dead.  Because there was no way to get to my cart.  I searched around a while and then gave up.

The next day I received a "you left something in your cart" email.  I thought good, and pressed the link.  Guess what happened?  It took me to an error message.

So, I had to laugh when I read the Wall Street Journal article lamenting about people abandoning their carts.  They left poor website/email management off their list of reasons why.  (Wells, 2015)  Based on my experience, and not just with Calvin Klein, it should be high on the list.

And as far as annoying follow-up emails go, they piss me off.  Companies should really think twice about outsourcing their customer service to an algorithm.  It's so much easier to lose a customer than get one. 

Wells, C. (2015, December 1)  What Online Retailers Will Do to Get You to Click 'Buy.'  Retrieved January 14, 2016, from

Friday, January 8, 2016

Will celebs help Voya convince Millennials to save?

ING has rebranded themselves as Voya.  Interesting name selection, don't you think? 

And they have secured Allison Janney and Jesse Tyler Ferguson to help connect with their target. (Faw, 2016)

A few weeks ago when we discussed Prudential's Gen X focused effort, which attempts to use social proof for persuasion,

several Millennials expressed the opinion that the ramifications of not saving might be more persuasive.  And, that given their attraction to celebrities, it might make sense to use one.  At the time I thought - it should be pretty easy to find a down on their luck celebrity to feature, they're probably on a new reality show.

But, as this commercial shows that is not the gist of this effort.  

Which makes me wonder why they picked the celebs they did.  What do you think?  Do you relate to them?  Will you save more with Voya?

Faw, L. (2016, January 5)  Celebs Help Promote Voya Financial in New Ads.  Retrieved January 8, 2016, from