Fluffs

Once upon a time, I went to visit a farm. I found some fluffy chicks so I decided to adopt a pair. I fell in love with my beautiful babies.

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Fast Food Trends in the United States

Living in North America, I’m sure we’ve all been exposed to the following fast food chains:

  • McDonald’sfast-food1 (1)
  • Burger King
  • Starbucks
  • Subway
  • Pizza Hut
  • Taco Bell
  • Wendy’s

 

When we’re out all day and need a snack break, many of us tend to end up at fast food restaurants. Whether it’s because of the cheap, tasty and unhealthy food or the fast paced environment, North Americans love their fast food! In a recent study published by Nation’s Restaurant News, the top 100 fast food chains in the United States were listed in terms of sales in millions of dollars (Top 100 Chains: US Sales, 2012).

This article utilizes Google Chrome’s Google Charts software to program and create a visualization to represent the trends in sales over a three year period for the Top 9 Fast Food Chains in the United States. Customers can dive in and literally see how their consumption has led to the success of these Franchises from 2009-2011. They can see how the franchise’s revenue increases or decreases over these years.

From this representation, it is obvious that McDonald’s is the dominant fast food franchise in the United States. Also, it is observed that over the years, McDonald’s, Subway, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts are showing a consistent increase in percent of overall annual revenue while the rest of the franchises are decreasing or fluctuating.

HTML Programming Codes

For a better visual representation of the data presented above, copy the code provided below into an HTML file and run.

Fast Food Chain Popularity in 2009

17yqqa.gif

Fast Food Chain Popularity in 2010

17ypu6.gif

Fast Food Chain Popularity in 2011

17yq05

References

Top 100 Chains: US Sales. (2012). Retrieved from Nation’s Restaurant News: http://nrn.com/us-top-100/top-100-chains-us-sales

 

Fast Food Chain Popularity in 2011

<html>
<head>
<!–Load the AJAX API–>
https://www.gstatic.com/charts/loader.js

// Load the Visualization API and the corechart package.
google.charts.load(‘current’, {‘packages’:[‘corechart’]});

// Set a callback to run when the Google Visualization API is loaded.
google.charts.setOnLoadCallback(drawChart);

// Callback that creates and populates a data table,
// instantiates the pie chart, passes in the data and
// draws it.
function drawChart() {

// Create the data table.
var data = new google.visualization.DataTable();
data.addColumn(‘string’, ‘Franchise’);
data.addColumn(‘number’, ‘Revenue’);
data.addRows([
[‘McDonalds’, 34170],
[‘Subway’, 11430],
[‘Starbucks’, 8490],
[‘Burger King’, 8130],
[‘Wendys’, 8108],
[‘Taco Bell’, 7000],
[‘Pizza Hut’, 5500],
[‘Dundin Donuts’, 5931],
[‘KFC’, 4600],
]);

// Set chart options
var options = {‘title’:’Fast Food Chain Popularity in 2011′,
‘width’:800,
‘height’:600};

// Instantiate and draw our chart, passing in some options.
var chart = new google.visualization.PieChart(document.getElementById(‘chart_div’));
chart.draw(data, options);
}

</head>

<body>
<!–Div that will hold the pie chart–>

</body>
</html>

Fast Food Chain Popularity in 2010

<html>
<head>
<!–Load the AJAX API–>
https://www.gstatic.com/charts/loader.js

// Load the Visualization API and the corechart package.
google.charts.load(‘current’, {‘packages’:[‘corechart’]});

// Set a callback to run when the Google Visualization API is loaded.
google.charts.setOnLoadCallback(drawChart);

// Callback that creates and populates a data table,
// instantiates the pie chart, passes in the data and
// draws it.
function drawChart() {

// Create the data table.
var data = new google.visualization.DataTable();
data.addColumn(‘string’, ‘Franchise’);
data.addColumn(‘number’, ‘Revenue’);
data.addRows([
[‘McDonalds’, 32395.4],
[‘Subway’, 10633],
[‘Starbucks’, 7955],
[‘Burger King’, 8433],
[‘Wendys’, 7943],
[‘Taco Bell’, 6900],
[‘Pizza Hut’, 5400],
[‘Dundin Donuts’, 5420],
[‘KFC’, 4700],
]);

// Set chart options
var options = {‘title’:’Fast Food Chain Popularity in 2010′,
‘width’:800,
‘height’:600};

// Instantiate and draw our chart, passing in some options.
var chart = new google.visualization.PieChart(document.getElementById(‘chart_div’));
chart.draw(data, options);
}

</head>

<body>
<!–Div that will hold the pie chart–>

</body>
</html>

Fast Food Chain Popularity in 2009

<html>
<head>
<!–Load the AJAX API–>
https://www.gstatic.com/charts/loader.js

// Load the Visualization API and the corechart package.
google.charts.load(‘current’, {‘packages’:[‘corechart’]});

// Set a callback to run when the Google Visualization API is loaded.
google.charts.setOnLoadCallback(drawChart);

// Callback that creates and populates a data table,
// instantiates the pie chart, passes in the data and
// draws it.
function drawChart() {

// Create the data table.
var data = new google.visualization.DataTable();
data.addColumn(‘string’, ‘Franchise’);
data.addColumn(‘number’, ‘Revenue’);
data.addRows([
[‘McDonalds’, 31032.6],
[‘Subway’, 9999.3],
[‘Starbucks’, 7415],
[‘Burger King’, 8799],
[‘Wendys’, 8023],
[‘Taco Bell’, 6800],
[‘Pizza Hut’, 5000],
[‘Dundin Donuts’, 5176],
[‘KFC’, 4900],
]);

// Set chart options
var options = {‘title’:’Fast Food Chain Popularity in 2009′,
‘width’:800,
‘height’:600};

// Instantiate and draw our chart, passing in some options.
var chart = new google.visualization.PieChart(document.getElementById(‘chart_div’));
chart.draw(data, options);
}

</head>

<body>
<!–Div that will hold the pie chart–>

</body>
</html>

Blockchains: The Future of Business

Background

Blockchain2In 2009, an anonymous individual under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto created the Bitcoin. He reflected upon the currency presently used where the banks act as the trusted third party between two individuals during a transaction. His motivation was to remove the issue of trust, which cannot always be guaranteed, and create an “electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof” (Nakamoto). Once the Bitcoin was created, it needed a system to regulate and keep track of every transaction while removing double spending and eliminating hacking, tampering and fraud. The Blockchain was the database created to ensure a reliable, trustworthy, decentralized system to accomplish this task.

What are Blockchains?

In order to understand Blockchains better, we first need to define the following terms (Bitcoin, 2015):

  • Transaction – Currency exchange between two parties.
  • Node – Any computer connected to the bitcoin network.
  • Hash – An algorithm which designates a unique number for a large amount of data, which completely changes with any small modification in the large data.
  • Block – Permanent record of a transaction.
  • Mining – Process of adding transactions to the Blockchain.

Blockchain5

By definition, Blockchain is a distributed public ledger of transactions initiated for bitcoin transactions (What is the Blockchain). Every time a bitcoin exchange takes place, a block is created with a hash of the previous bitcoin transactions or previous blocks (Bitcoin, 2015). This creates a sequence of blocks known as the Blockchain. Every node contains a copy of the Blockchain. How the Blockchain works is that each node, or computer solves a complicated problem. The result is verified among 50% of the nodes out there. If it matches, it is validated and the block is added to the system creating a chain of blocks (Lantz, 2016). If a block of data on a node is hacked and tampered with, all the other nodes will remain intact; the tampered block will be detected and the information from it will be rejected (Lantz, 2016). Due to the algorithm and calculations involved to create a single block, double spending and tampering of a block becomes impossible.

Blockchain Potential

Trust has always been an issue when exchanging information between two sources in a centralized environment. In the case of a bank, customers have lost trust in banks since the financial crisis in 2008 (Financial Crisis, n.d.). Customers never know if the bank is reliable or will claim to be bankrupt and steal all of their savings. There is also the issue of the bank transferring money through a network of banks during an exchange when the customers don’t know where their money is at any one moment in time. The issue of trust also arises when it comes to an election; voters never know if their electronic votes have been altered or if they are seeing the results of their true choices. A decentralized environment has transparency, authenticity and auditing which allows detection of fraud (Lantz, 2016).

Blockchain7

The biggest potential in Blockchain technology lies with its inability to tamper or alter data. It creates a secure and trustworthy method of transferring information between two mediums in a decentralized environment. Decentralizing means removing authority from a single individual or central party and giving it to local parties. For example, the bitcoin has decentralized payment methods; it has taken the power away from centralized banks and given it to every individual connected to the Blockchain (Lantz, 2016). Blockchains have the potential to decentralize practically all digital transactions, not just currency. Not only that, but, as mentioned, Blockchains have a digital record of every transaction ever made. Paper transactions can thus be eliminated through the use of Blockchains which will lead to cost savings while increasing efficiency by removing the need to track physical documents.

Blockchains will completely change the future of business as we know it. By switching over to Blockchain technology, the need for a facilitator between two mediums will be eliminated. No one will have to worry about a trusting body or loss of money during transactions from one party to another because it will all take place within the system and within real time, while staying recorded in the Blockchain. As soon as a new Block is created, the transaction will have completed and both the parties involved will have received their payments directly and instantly.  Blockchains can also be used in marketing by associating a block with every authentic product that enters the market. It will eliminate, or at least make the buyers aware of fake brands or counterfeit products by allowing the customer to track the lifetime of the product through its Blockchain. In the case of voting, Blockchains will prevent anyone from altering the information stored by the voters and thus eliminate rigged elections.

Blockchain6

All in all, Blockchains have the potential to eliminate the phrase “Life isn’t fair” by making life much more fair than it currently is. It has the potential to satisfy consumers when they purchase expensive items such as shoes and headphones by eliminating fraud and counterfeits. It can prevent a corrupt government from reigning by facilitating a proper election. It can safely and efficiently follow through with large and expensive business deals without the involvement of a third party such as banks. And finally, Blockchains can eliminate the need to trust strangers and place all the trust in a system which cannot be tampered with.

Disadvantages

The biggest issue with Blockchains, as discussed by David Gilbert, is the amount of time it takes to solve an exchange with bitcoin (Gilbert, 2016). In application to big businesses and federal elections, this issue would not be acceptable. For starters, elections will lead to thousands of voters submitting their ballots which will then need to be processed instantly if possible in order to get the election results as soon as possible. If an average of 10 minutes is required to process one transaction in a Blockchain, it will be insane to have to wait around so long for all the transactions to complete for an election. Similarly, large business require efficiency to succeed. Efficiency involves getting results in the quickest time possible, which Blockchain technology will make very difficult.

The Future

Just because Blockchains are slow does not mean they should be eliminated. Blockchains have great potential and effort should be made to resolve them in order to perfect it for future use. If the mining process is enhanced for quicker results, Blockchain is the next big step for the future of business. If implemented, Blockchains can change the way society functions. It will reduce many tedious and robust jobs such as banking personnel, store clerks and ballot counters. It will decentralize our society, make it more efficient and eliminate the need to trust anyone or anything.

Blockchain8.jpg

References

Bitcoin. (2015, October 21). Retrieved from BitcoinWiki: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Block_chain

Financial Crisis. (n.d.). Retrieved from Investopedia: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/financial-crisis.asp

Gilbert, D. (2016, March 4). Bitcoin’s Big Problem: Transaction Delays Renew Blockchain Debate. Retrieved from International Business Times: http://www.ibtimes.com/bitcoins-big-problem-transaction-delays-renew-blockchain-debate-2330143

Lantz, L. (2016, May 24). New Kids on the Blockchain. Retrieved from TEDx Talks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1Vbrxkqjwc

Nakamoto, S. (n.d.). Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Retrieved from Bitcoin: https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf

What is the Blockchain. (n.d.). Retrieved from Investopedia: http://www.investopedia.com/video/play/what-blockchain/

 

Application of Digital Curation to Aerospace Engineers

Aerospace Engineering. Sounds cool. Looks cool. It’s definitely a field with a LOT of potential! It is also a field with a lot of competition stemming from rockets to business jets to passenger Aircraft and let’s not forget the race to design the most efficient Military Aircraft. We can also throw in the quad-copters, drones and satellites in to that pile. At the end of the day, there is so much out there and it’s all growing so fast that it gets difficult for an aerospace engineer to keep up.  And keeping up is crucial for us.

all_crafts_0
McGuill.ca

When it comes to applying for jobs, it is vital that an Aerospace engineer know what is currently happening in the industry with respect to technology, research and development because at the end of the day, employers want to hire the candidate who knows the market and can be an asset, not a liability. Being knowledgeable about the latest innovations in aerospace is definitely an impressive asset. So how do we keep up with up with the vast amount of knowledge available to us? We create a digital curation system which organizes and filters the information for us. I mean, we can do it manually but that’s not efficient, and efficiency is key to engineering.

Let’s begin with a simple plan

What’s the point of having a Digital Curation System in place?

A digital curation system tailoring to the needs of Aerospace Engineers will allow the engineers, both students and professionals, young and old, to keep up with the latest innovations and technologies. No longer will it be difficult for the older generation to keep up with the younger more motivated ones. Not only that, but it will be easy for aerospace engineers to find the information they need. In the words of Michiel Gaasterland, benefits of customizing curation “is that your friends, connections and followers don’t have to plough through masses of tweets, blog posts, news feeds and search results to find quality content. You have already done that for them!” (Gaasterland, 2016), which pretty much means curating information makes it easier for others to access it.

Existing Platforms

20140225_C7193_PHOTO_EN_37133.jpg
Flipp Android Image (CNW Group/Wishabi)

Alltop, Stumbleupon and Flipboard are a few examples of existing curation applications. Each of these platforms target a specific type of data and offer it to the users. Alltop for example curates the latest news for a specific topic and shows the 5 most recent posts in order to give the user an essence about the topic and not limit them to their personal bubble (About Alltop, 2016). Stumbleupon on the other hand is a website which offers information based on the user’s preferences, which is otherwise just adding information to their bubbles rather than expanding it (Dashburst, 2016). Flipboard works similarly to Stubleupon where it curates articles and blogs and presents it based on the user’s preferences. Another popular medium is the Flipp app, which works slightly differently. This app curates weekly, monthly, and even yearly sales from all flyers at a particular area and presents it to the user. It makes shopping easy because customers no longer need to sift through pages and pages of flyers to find the deal they are looking for. They can simply search it on the app. It is also ecofriendly because there is no need to have as many paper flyers anymore. The Aerospace curation system will be a combination of all of these apps.

Getting started

As with all curation systems, this one will need to provide information pertaining to a wide range of audiences. Similar to how Flighthub provides airline tickets ranging from economy to first class, the Aerospace curation system will need to be tailored to individuals with less knowledge such as first year students to those more knowledgeable such as professors and managers. To implement this idea, everything from Aerospace definitions to highly technical public data will need to be gathered and available for the users. It will be like an aerospace encyclopedia. The system will be split into the major aerospace streams: Aircraft (commercial and military), Space (Rockets and satellites), Avionics and Other (quadcopters, drones, etc.). A database will then need to be created to pull information about specific trends and topics, categorize them and make them available for the users. The authenticity of the content will need to be validated and the data will need to be filtered for redundancy and legitimacy.

Content

As mentioned above, this new app needs to appeal to a wide range of customers with a broad range of knowledge. To meet this content requirement, the app will be designed so it publishes top 5 topics from each of the aerospace streams. When any of the topics are selected, the page will show the following information:

  • Definition
  • History/Background
  • Associations (who designed/ came up with the idea)
  • Application (how and where is it being used)
  • Latest News/Media coverage
  • Unique/Interesting fact

The user will then select the subtopic of interest to explore more about the topic. If all of these points are covered, even professors who are professionals in their topic will want to use the app because they’ll be curious about the unique or interesting facts.

Filter Implementation

The objective of this App is quality over quantity, to filter the information out there, gather all the ones related to aerospace, categorize them among Aircraft, Space, Avionics and Others, and provide the latest and most relevant information for the users. The filter will be a software which searches for keywords. A list of keywords will first need to be compiled for aerospace related content, among them will be terms like: lift, drag, control systems, flight control, APU, ECU, etc. The content will then be filtered further for relevance and redundancy by eliminating pages which contain content that is at least 60% similar to another page. From among the remaining content, it will be divided into the 4 categories. The users can search content by category or subscribe to see “topic of the week”.

Software

Presently, there are many software which exist as a platform to curate information. Among them, for an app which has to deal with information flow, new innovations and the latest technologies, iFlow, Learnist, Triberr and Curata are the most relevant platforms. iFlow is a platform which allows the user to create industry specific filters and suggests content to the user, exactly what we would need for the Aerospace App (McCoy, 2016). Learnist is an application which encourages learning and uses a similar platform to what the Aerospace App needs. It works similarly to Pinterest where there are learning boards and users can pick a topic and the app will create a sequence of steps to make learning easy (Basu, 2016). Triberr is the social network of bloggers. It allows bloggers who write about similar topics to come together and read, comment and share each other’s posts (Triberr for Bloggers, 2016). It is a great way to gather and share information and knowledge.

learnist04.jpg
Screenshot from Learnist.com

Curata is a well-known and widely used platform that is excellent at gathering information and would be ideal for the Aerospace App. As stated on their website, “Curata is a comprehensive, business-grade, SaaS content curation solution that automates the tedious tasks (search, organizing, and publishing ) while giving you complete, centralized control of the human tasks (evaluation, contextualizing, and approval)” (What is Curata, 2016).  Curata, in combination with iFlow, Learnist and Triberr would make the perfect software to curate data for us. All of this information cannot be blindly presented to the users; it needs to be reviewed and controlled. Curata allows the data to be controlled if needed which will address this problem.

Future Design Considerations

Once the Aerospace App is released to the public, a feedback system will be implemented where the users can rate their satisfaction and leave comments regarding improvements. In later versions of the app, these comments and reviews will be considered. With later versions of the app, the aerospace fields may be split into more categories to encompass a larger scope. For example, the aircraft stream can be split into commercial, business and military. This would be a benefit for the aerospace engineers out there because it is difficult to gather information about military aircraft but the app would do the tedious work for them and make it easy for the users.

df
warfiles.ru

Advantages and Disadvantages 

Having a passive method of curating data pertaining to aerospace engineering will greatly simplify the lives of the engineers. For students, this means writing research papers will become simpler because they need to visit one site and it will give them all relevant and up to date information about the topic. For professionals, this app will enable them to quickly look up any topics of discussion during a meeting or conference. This app will also allow aerospace engineers to keep up with the latest innovations in aerospace.

There are, however, a few setbacks to this app. It will limit certain websites that appear redundant to the system. There will be conflict when facing two legitimate sources with the same information because the software will be confused between which one is more relevant and should be visible to the user. Issues like this will need to be fixed with a lot of human intervention. In the future revisions of the app, a more automatic method of dealing with these problems will need to be considered.

REFERENCES 

About Alltop. (2016, 7 2). Retrieved from Alltop: http://alltop.com/about/

Basu, S. (2016, 7 2). How To Use Learnist To Effectively Organize Your Learning & Teaching. Retrieved from MakeUseOf: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-use-learnist-to-effectively-organize-your-learning-teaching/

Dashburst. (2016, 7 2). What is StumbleUpon and How Does it Work? Retrieved from Small Business Trends: http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/08/what-is-stumbleupon-how-do-i-use-it.html

Gaasterland, M. (2016, 6 30). Michiel Gaasterland Marketing 2.0 in plain language. Retrieved from Michiel Gaasterland : http://www.michielgaasterland.com/content-marketing/what-is-content-curation-and-how-it%E2%80%99s-useful-to-you-and-your-network/

McCoy, J. (2016, 7 1). 17 of the Best Content Curation Tools to Use. Retrieved from Express Writers: https://expresswriters.com/17-of-the-best-content-curation-tools/

Triberr for Bloggers. (2016, 7 2). Retrieved from Triberr: http://triberr.com/landing/bloggers

What is Curata. (2016, 7 2). Retrieved from Curata: http://hivefire.webfactional.com/what_is_curata/

6 Effective Retail strategies to Improve Business for Ardene

Just the other day, I was walking through the Eaton Center as just a window shopper when I noticed the bright and colorful exterior of Ardene’s. The huge SALE signs and the many “3 for $15” signs caught my attention although I had no intention of spending money. Once inside, I looked at the various styles of shoes, clothing, socks and accessories. Even though I hadn’t planned on it, I ended up spending money on a couple pair of jeans. Once I left, I obviously spread the word about their new products and sales to my friends and family. And just like that, I became another one of Ardene’s prized customer. This article will discuss Ardene’s successes over the years and the marketing strategies they used to stay successful in the competitive world of retail.

What is Ardene

For those of you not so familiar to the world of teen fashion and shopping, Ardene is a go to source for affordable yet stylish accessories, foot wear and clothing (About Ardene, 2016). Ardene launched itself in North America in 1982 targeting teenagers and young adults and has now expanded with over 400 sites all over the United States and Canada (Ardene Retail, 2016). As stated on their LinkedIn profile, Ardene’s moto is as follows:

A-ffordable fashion that’s fun and full of variety!

R-etail leaders with over 400 stores across North America

D-edicated to being socially responsible

E-xceptional customer service

N-ew trends and concepts

E-mployee appreciation

Ardene does a decent job living up to its moto. It provides a wide variety of affordable fashion including piercings, jewelry, all variety of clothing (tops, skirts, socks, dresses) and footwear (summer sandals, high heels, dress/winter/rain boots). Ardene even provide numerous nailpolish, watches, phone covers and even hats and caps. It could be said that if a girl walks into Ardene, they’ll walk out with everything they could possibly need for any outing.

ARDENE-750x499

Figure 1: Ardene’s store (Ardene, 2016)

The continuing success of Ardene’s can be owed not only to their diverse and unique products and services and their cheap and affordable prices but to their excellent marketing strategies. Let’s take a look at what they’re doing right and where they can improve. After extensively studying Ardene’s online presence, here is my top 5 suggestions:

1. Spread the word via Social Media

In the generation we live in today, it is vital for all leading retail chains to have a presence on social media. Adrene has a presence with about 279K followers on Facebook (Ardene Product/Service, 2016), 116K followers on Instagram (Ardene, Instagram, 2016) and about 20 pins on Pintrest (Ardene, Pintrest, 2016).

2. Be media specific, use what works best for you

Referring back to #1, it seems as if Pintrest isn’t a good way to promote Ardene with a lacking number of pins. Compared to other similar franchise such a H&M who have 14.4M followers on Instagram (H&M Instagram, 2016) and 27.3M followers on Facebook (H&M Facebook, 2016), Ardene is lacking by about 100 times the followers on other social media sites as well. Taking into account that Ardene only caters to teenage girls and young women, Facebook seems to be the most effective method of them communicating to their consumers (with the most number of followers). But when looking at the feedback Ardene receives on their posts, it appears as if they get more likes on Instagram than on Facebook. Instagram is a method of sharing every using pictures and hashtags.

For a better understanding of Ardene’s performance on social media, the following key performance indicator table was compiled based on average per day per post. The KPI shows very low performance of Ardene on social media as compared to competitors such as H&M when comparing the number of followers and likes on Instagram. Both companies have a similar presence on Facebook, although H&M has a much high number of followers.

Table 1: Key performance indicator of Ardene’s performance on social media (Ardene Product/Service, 2016) (Ardene, Instagram, 2016)

# of likes # of shares # of followers # of hashtags
Facebook 5 0 279 K >1
Instagram 2,500 N/A 116 K 10

Table 2: Key performance indicator of H&M’s performance on social media (H&M Facebook, 2016) (H&M Instagram, 2016)

# of likes # of shares # of followers # of hashtags
Facebook 2 0 27.3 M 5
Instagram 140 K N/A 14.4 M 10

From the key performance indicator in Table 1, it makes sense that for a company like Ardene, Instagram is the best social media medium to promote their products. When they post about new arrivals or sales, their customers will be able to see it visually while skimming their Instagram accounts. If they like it, they’ll give a heart, otherwise, they’ll scroll to the next image. It is simple and effective. It gets the products across with minimal time and effort. Facebook is a less effective method of promoting sales, but is a good method of sharing the company’s name since there is a much higher number of followers to the page. Ardene should continue their efforts on Instagram, but also try to increase their followers and feedback on Facebook.

One effective method for Ardene to do this would be to use giveaways or prizes for the first 5 or 10 comments or shares on their Facebook posts. This would encourage more followers to actively like and share, which would lead to promoting the company not just within the local community but also internationally to tourists and newcomers. If daily promotions and contests are too much, having them weekly is a good start. Figure 3 gives a nice outline for a contest post (Ayres, n.d.). Ardene could have their latest fashion wear or accessory in a picture with the value of the prize, name of the prize, conditions to win and when the winner will be selected. This will bring a lot of attention to their page and help promote themselves.

2

Figure 2: Sample contest post for Facebook or Instagram (Ayres, n.d.)

3. Timing is everything, but keep a good frequency for postings

Being a franchise like Ardene, it is important that they promote their newest and latest trends to customers at all times. This means, they don’t want to get unfollowed by overwhelming the followers. Make relevant posts that will be engaging and provide information that are not found elsewhere. Give followers a reason to follow, not get annoyed and unsubscribe, which can lead to the company losing their credentials online. Posting about special deals and products which wouldn’t be available to customers anywhere else is a good method to keep the online customers engaged.

Timing for these posts are essential too. An Instagram or Facebook post is more likely to receive a view during peak hours. For the target audience being teenagers and young adults who are looking to save money and buy affordable clothes, it can be assumed that they are most likely to travel by public transport. What do teenagers and young adults do on public transport? They are usually bored and surf the web, mindlessly scrolling through pages and pages of news feed. With that being said, the perfect time to post an update or new content for Ardene would be around rush hour when all the customers are bored and spending time on social media. Posts updated during non-peak hours are more likely to be overlooked since hundreds of new items are constantly being uploaded online at any given moment. Weekends are another great time to post when people are spending vast amounts of time on their phones or laptops, as shown by the statistics in Figure 3 (Harris, 2014). With 75 million posts per day, it is crucial that the posts be uploaded at a time when it doesn’t get buried and forgotten among cyberspace (Smith, 2016).

4

Figure 5: Weekly Instagram usage statistics per 1K followers  (Harris, 2014).

4. Don’t just be Active but be Reactive

Communication is a critical part of any social media network. The users need to get timely feedback from the admin to know that their questions were important and that the user is valuable to the page. Ardene does a good job of responding on time to comments on Facebook by followers, as shown by the image below. A customer had a question and an admin was able to address the issue within 24 hours.

3

Figure 5: Ardene admin responds to question by potential customer (Ardene Product/Service, 2016)

The only concern I’d have as a potential shopper is that I had to wait a whole day for a response. To step up their game, Ardene admins may want to consider getting back to their online customers within the regular scheduled workday.

5. Have the option to shop online

Many big franchise presently have the option for online shopping. Ardene is among them. Online shopping has many benefits for the merchant. For starters, it increases revenue since customers can order what they want from the comfort of their own homes. It also increases the number of customers since people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to a large mall will no longer be limited from the shopping experience. Lastly, customers overseas are also able to order their products from Ardene, which will further increase their revenue.

6. Ask customers to provide their email at the cashier

Having an email list of all the customers will be an easy way to remind customers to keep checking up on the products for the latest deals. Often, I’ve done this myself where I will need a medium for procrastinating and read the junk promo emails from stores at which I’ve signed up. And then I’ll end up on their social media pages, skimming through their latest deals. This will further encourage me to stop by their store in the near future and also share any potential eye catching deals with my family and friends. It is an effective method and should be taken advantage of.

Good Luck!

Ardene is an excellent place to go for the latest and affordable fashion for teenagers and young adults. Their spectacular deals keep customers coming back for more season after season. Applying these 6 simple tips to their current online marketing strategy can help them even more with advertising, popularity and revenue.

References

About Ardene. (2016). Retrieved May 31, 2016, from Ardene: http://www.ardene.com/en/customer-service/contact-us

Ardene. (2016). Retrieved from Historic Chatham: http://downtownchatham.com/member/ardene/

Ardene Product/Service. (2016, June 1). Retrieved June 1, 2016, from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ardene/info/?tab=page_info

Ardene Retail. (2016). Retrieved June 1, 2016, from Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/243454?trk=tyah&trkInfo=clickedVertical%3Acompany%2CclickedEntityId%3A243454%2Cidx%3A2-1-4%2CtarId%3A1464757549215%2Ctas%3Aardene

Ardene, instagram. (2016, June 2). Retrieved June 2, 2016, from Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ardene/

Ardene, Pintrest. (2016). Retrieved June 2, 2016, from Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/ardene/?etslf=5517&eq=ardene

Ayres, S. (n.d.). Here’s the Easiest Way to Run a Facebook Timeline Contest for FREE. Retrieved June 2, 2016, from Post Planner: https://www.postplanner.com/easiest-way-to-run-facebook-timeline-contest-for-free/

H&M facebook. (2016, June 2). Retrieved June 2, 2016, from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hmcanadahm/?brand_redir=21415640912

H&M instagram. (2016, June 2). Retrieved June 2, 2016, from Instaram: https://www.instagram.com/hm/

Harris, S. (2014). 8 Surprising New Instagram Statistics to Get the Most out of the Picture Social Network. Retrieved from Buffer Social: https://blog.bufferapp.com/instagram-stats-instagram-tips

Smith, C. (2016, June 1). By the numbers: +170 Interesting Instagram Statistics. Retrieved June 2, 2016, from DMR Stats and Gadgets: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/important-instagram-stats/