Employee Engagement
 
Walmart Flies Employees for Top Healthcare
Employers are increasingly encountering problems with the American healthcare system. In a particularly extreme case, Walmart sent an employee, Bill, to an out of state hospital to get a diagnosis that spared Bill an unnecessary, invasive surgery. “Walmart, which also offers pharmacy service and health clinics, has been aware of the problem for much longer than that. The Harvard Business Review piece noted that its founder Sam Walton, in a meeting with senior leaders almost thirty years ago, described health care as ‘skinnin’ us alive.’ He went on: ‘If we don’t get it done this year, I’m gonna get real upset. I mean real upset.’”
 
Customer Experience
 
Is Amazon Entering a “One Vendor” System?
On March 4, “Many brands operating on Amazon’s Vendor Central system had a surprising start to the week: their regular Purchase Orders from Amazon that show up like clockwork every Monday just didn’t appear. Some notifications sent by Amazon cited technical issues with the ordering system. Other messages suggested that the supplier should not expect future purchase orders to be placed at all.” Many have suggested that Amazon will merge its merchant platforms, uniting all products on a single public-facing platform. March 4’s weird occurrence may be the first step.
 
Sears Through the Years
Sears was America’s greatest retail giant. A new piece in the Wall Street Journal shares the brand’s oral history as told by consumers and employees. From Michael Ryan: “My dad shopped at Sears. He loved the tools. I was proud to wear Toughskins, the Sears house brand of jeans. They had patches on the knee so you never wore them out. When I started as a commissioned salesman in hardware, selling Craftsman tools and tractors, I was making about $15,000 a year, more than friends who had gone to college. There were associates who worked in the warehouse who would retire from Sears as millionaires.” It’s fascinating to hear that this informal loyalty of meaningful experiences can last longer than the brand itself.
 
Data Security
 
Data Breaches and Customer Trust Strategy
Maria Allen offers an approach for brands looking to boost profits without sacrificing customer trust: “To provide the customer experience that consumers expect and demand, it’s important to understand where and why security concerns exist and take steps to proactively address and alleviate risk from day one.” Allen’s piece covers topics like authentication and moving data.
 
Social Media
 
How the Stars of The Bachelor Turn Their Instagram Accounts Into “QVC on Steroids”
Reality TV stars are able to blend “the authenticity of a microinfluencer with the follower count of a major celebrity.” Contestants from The Bachelor, along with other reality stars, therefore present a major opportunity for brands that want to reach millions on social without appearing “too commercial.” This is one way to get that genuine influencer appeal without having to downsize.
 

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