October 25, 2006

Forrester Research Beats Up Bloomingdales

According to DMNews, Forrester Research Vice President Harry H. Harteveldt had unkind words to say about Bloomingdales online store.

The article states that Harteveldt felt the website had a lack of images, staid design, lack of merchandising and used acronyms for product descriptions. He mocked the site's use of the words "casual china" to describe its porcelain offering. According to a direct quote, Mr. Harteveldt said "To me, it's a billion people sitting around. Bloomingdale's distinguished in-store experience is missing online".

This is another good example of pundits clobbering folks in the B2C world. The people who work at Bloomingdales are undoubtedly good people who try hard to meet the expectations of their customers. Who is more likely to understand Bloomingdales customers, Bloomingdales, or Forrester Research?

Of course, Bloomingdales could do a better job of serving its customers. All companies could. What is to be gained by slamming them? And what happens when they listen to Forrester, implement Forrester's suggestions, and then sales stay flat, or decrease? Will Mr. Harteveldt stand up in front of a roomful of Forrester customers, and tell the audience that he was responsible for decreasing sales?

I have met numerous individuals from Forrester Research, and I thoroughly enjoy Forrester's Marketing Blog. All prior experiences with Forrester have been positive. But I'm really tired of pundits tossing B2C employees under the bus as a way of demonstrating their thought leadership.

I, too, will try to practice what I preach.

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