A lot of retailers wonder if offering an online shopping option will simply cannibalize their brick-and-mortar sales – and by how much. Andrea Pozzi has been studying this question, and he documents the positive impact of online sales in a paper that’s about to publish in the RAND Journal of Economics. It’s good to get some answers, and some of them are surprising. Pozzi agreed to talk with us about his research in advance of its publication.
FoodEssentials is assembling and organizing food product information in some interesting new ways. It's going to help shoppers who want more accurate and objective data for making food choices – but their business model also illustrates some of the new thinking about data that’s beginning to show up in the marketplace. Listen in while we talk to co-founder and CEO Anton Xavier.
I think it is important to continuously explore the new visions and concepts for food retailing that business leaders are championing in the real world. One of those leaders is Chad Arnold, CEO of Door to Door Organics, and this week we talk to him and Kristin Lindquist, VP of Product Development, about their philosophy and approach.
Yummy.com has successfully turned the usual bricks-plus-clicks grocery model on its head: Walk-in sales are incremental to their online base. It's exactly the kind of “rethinking the process” that will be needed to make delivery of online grocery purchases both appealing to the shopper and profitable for food retailers, so check out this interview with founder and CEO Barnaby Montgomery.
We’re approaching a point where we need to move beyond the term “big data,” or least add a subtitle – if we don’t, we risk not capturing its full potential. Part of the term’s allure is its lack of a precise meaning, which makes it easy “to put more of what you want” under it. But the squishy definition isn’t the only thing holding back progress - there are three key factors that need attention.
Mobile marketing offers an unprecedented opportunity to influence shoppers in the moment – if the messages are relevant. Claudio Schapsis has cracked the code. Here, he explains why mobile is one of the best ways to compete with online stores, what makes a message relevant, and how location affects strategy and focus.
Bill Davis talks with us about the distinction between multi- and omni- channel retail, his research about where omnichannel is happening today, and what he thinks it will take for retailers to achieve a true 360-degree view of the shopper.
We talk to Todd Sherman, CMO of Point Inside, about how in-store engagement differs from ecommerce, location technology changes shopping behavior, and retailer response to offering a mobile app that combines mapping and indoor location technology with purchase history and intent.
I wanted to discuss with Håkan Bengtsson of Centigo some the retail trends identified in the 2013 Centigo Retail Outlook, including icebergs, millennials, and how the world's major cities are growing more similar.
The invention of the self-service supermarket in 1916 was a major innovation in food retailing, and the automated supermarket concept we've been discussing could be as big a game changer. Here's a video about the first attempt to create such a store more than 70 years ago.
In the second of a two-part interview, John Lert talks with us about his vision of an automated supermarket - a concept I think has the potential to reinvent the grocery store. In Part 1, he described how the new store would benefit shoppers. This week, he explains how it would work for retailers.
John Lert’s vision of the automated supermarket is a concept that I think has the potential to reinvent the grocery store, reduce the cost of operations, and double sales per square foot thanks to increased customer appeal. In the first installment of this two-part interview, Lert describes the store from the shopper’s point of view. Next week, in Part 2, he talks about how it works for retailers.
The chairman of CPM and Quantic Group in the UK, Tony Stratton, talks with Brick Meets Click about what he learned when he interviewed shoppers, suppliers, and retailers about their relationships with Amazon.
Is great retail execution enough to succeed against competitors who are investing in shopper data? The debate plays out in real time now that it looks like Jewel food stores in Chicago are discontinuing their loyalty program, but while we're debating is important work going undone? We talk with Lynn Olsen about the investments retailers need to be making to make data work for them.
What are the broader implications of Tesco's decisions to take an £800m write-down on the value of real estate it no longer believes is worth developing? We asked BMC Black Belt Marc de Speville, Food Retail Research Partner at Redburn in London.
Technology and new retail analytics are transforming even basic parts of the retail business - from reducing wait times at checkout to managing out of stocks. In this interview with Jan Davis, we dig into pedestrian tracking - one of those “behind the scenes” operations that's being transformed by new technology and analytics.
Relay Foods has created a virtual food marketplace that is economically
viable on a per order basis, complete with network pick-up locations, great
customer retention, and a surplus of local suppliers clamoring to get into
their system. We talked with President and Co-Founder Arnie Katz about his
food experiences and how Relay is winning over shoppers.
Offering shoppers "solutions" by combing complimentary items (a.k.a. bundling) is a powerful tool to increase transaction size, and it's already driving sales for both online and brick and mortar retailers. Done effectively, bundling can have a big impact on top-line growth. Do the math: How much would your sales increase if shoppers added just one more item to half of their transactions?
The paper on our second big data survey identifies where and how big data is adding value on both the demand and supply sides of the business. While large-scale solutions will be required for some of the issues identified, that's clearly not stopping retailers from moving forward.
Foodie.fm, a cloud-based, personalized grocery shopping platform, was brought to our attention because of how closely they aligned their work with Facebook. We were impressed with how Foodie is building new digital connections between shoppers and retailers. The platform currently operates in Finland and England where people can access it via the internet or a mobile app. Here, we interview Kalle Koutajoki, co-founder and CEO of Digital Foodie Ltd., the parent company of Foodie.fm, so that you can get a better picture of their vision and delivery.
Can we get more specific about what Big Data is good for? Victor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier’s new book is a big step in the right direction, but the quote that Evgeny Morozov highlighted in his WSJ review made me think about correlation and causation.
It’s time to break down buying and selling tasks anew. Those digital breadcrumbs we call “big data” could help a lot - IF we can get clear about what it is and what it can do. Take BMC's Big Data Survey and we'll send you the results.
When we talk about mobile and retail, we often move fast to features, tactics, and strategies, but unless we back up to see the enormity of the change we’re dealing with, we might fail to get to retail’s true digital destination.
Professor Bobby Calder of the MMM Program at Northwestern's Kellogg School talks with BMC about building better engagement with customers in the changed landscape of marketing in the 21st century.
Are you passionate about understanding how digitial devices are changing the way people shop? Visit us regularly in 2013 for enabling insights, delivered without commercial bias, that help you better meet the needs of today's shoppers.
BMC's newest paper tracks the changes in shopper marketing that are being driven by new digital tools, tactics, and strategies. It delivers insights, implications, and recommended actions that will help retailers and suppliers who want to increase the effectiveness of their shopper marketing programs today.
Food bloggers can be a rich a social media touchpoint for shoppers. Heidi Bobier, Social Media Coordinator for SuperValu, has worked with them for years to build connections between shoppers, retailers and products. We asked her to talk with us about her work.
The growth of digital media has expanded the communication options available to retailers, but more importantly, it has created powerful new synergies for more fully integrating sales promotion and marketing into an effective shopper marketing program. These synergies couldn’t happen at a better time, since the effectiveness of traditional print media has eroded, creating a growing “communications gap” between some retailers and their shoppers. Here are six calls-out for actions retailers can take to maximize the synergies, and two resources that will help them plot their course.
The magnitude and rate of change we're involved in today is unprecedented. Mobile devices are permanently changing the fabric of our lives. And speed is changing the way we make decisions. Tom Van Aman has thought longer and harder than almost anyone we know about change, and these are among the topics he brought up when we invited him to a free-wheeling discussion about what's happening today and how it will affect the future.
Food prices strongly affect the growth of the overall market, as well as the growth available to individual companies. We turned to Brian Todd, President of The Food Institute, to get the most up-to-date facts on food prices as well as expert foresight. Brian is a long-time food professional and is frequently quoted on the outlook for food prices and other issues related to food from farm to fork.
The bleak title of the article about the 2012 Supermarket News Analyst Roundtable was “Grim Prognosis,” but there are some “silver lining” opportunities that are worth considering by any food retailer who is serious about growing their business. The analysts provided some pointers to areas where supermarkets may be able to grow. We call out six of them, and offer a couple of ways to approach each one.
Steps European retailers are taking
In London last month, I had a chance to catch up with Marc de Speville, who watches retail in Europe for Redburn, Europe’s leading independent equities broker. When he shared his observations about how food and electronics retailers were responding to the multi-channel trend, I was struck by how brick-and-mortar retailers who sell such different products were starting to focus on leveraging the inherent advantages they have over pure online players. For grocers, de Speville sees an opportunity to break out of a capital-intensive business model. In electronics, he sees Europe’s largest retailer leveraging physical locations while minimizing price differentials. With his permission, I’ve summarized our pub talk below.
Facing retail challenges in Sweden
BMC Black Belt Hakan Bengtsson traveled from Sweden to Chicago recently, and we asked him how Northern European retailers were dealing with the trend toward multi-channel retailing. In this interview, he answers our questions and then asks some of his own. Hakan works for Centigo, a leading management consultancy based in Stockholm, where his specialty is advising clients on how the convergence of the web and physical stores is affecting commerce.
Last week we explored a digital native’s take on social media, this week we offer a C-level briefing from Don Keeble. Keeble worked his way through nearly every retail function in 29 years at Kmart, from merchandising to new market development, to become President of Operations. He also pays close attention to customer comments on social media. We talked with him about how important it is for senior retail leadership to help their companies learn from social media. And, how a CEO (who may not have a Facebook page) can approach learning about and using what his or her customers are saying on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
Last week I ran into a long time JCP customer who recently lost confidence in her ability to get what she wanted from that retailer. Her story reveals some of what’s going wrong at JCP, and contains messages for anyone who wants to understand shopper reaction to the new world of retailing.
The growth manifesto for the slow economy we offered last week was a wide-angle framework retailers could use to prioritize their search for growth in the “new normal” economy. Here’s what some retailers are doing within that framework, as well as some independent support and guidance on other aspects of the manifesto from BMC readers.
I’ve been in retail a long time, and I believe its time to accept that for the foreseeable future the economy will grow more slowly than it used to – and also that it’s time to adopt a new mindset towards growing retail. So here’s a growth manifesto for a slow economy. It involves finding better ways to create value for shoppers. This isn’t easy, but it can be done. In fact, it’s being done now by retailers who are growing comparable sales at a significantly faster rate than inflation. Examples include Amazon and many other online retailers, as well as brick and mortar retailers as diverse as Whole Foods and Dollar General.
A healthy-eating wave is building in the US as more and more people learn how diet and lifestyle influence their health. In fact, growing awareness of the connection between diet and chronic disease is the main reason why people are shopping for healthier foods, according to the Tufts University Health and Nutrition letter. BMC’s Health and Wellness segment team members – Ray Stone, Brian Joyce, Dave Nazaruk, Roy White, and Ken Witte – have been thinking about how supermarkets can catch this wave.
Bear with me while I talk about baseball, basketball, and medicine before getting to retail. And spoiler alert: In the end, I’m going to ask you to participate in a survey about where we are with big data and retailing. Well before Brad Pitt played him in Moneyball, I heard Billy Bean talk. I was impressed with how his creative use of data changed the game for the Oakland A’s then, and I realize now that he was one of the early evangelists for big data. Not because he used more data than other big league managers, but because he used it differently.
Ann Zimmerman’s recent article on “showrooming” in the Wall Street Journal provoked a wide range of reader comments. I found them fascinating for their range, passion, and frankness. When shoppers go to the store to “try” before they buy online, is it bad for brick-and-mortar retailers? Sure, but let’s not get stuck there. Instead, let’s listen to them talk about the changing shape of their shopping experience.
Can Ron Johnson, chief architect of the Apple Store’s incredibly successful shopping experience, do it again at JCPenney? BMC’s going to check in periodically to see how things are going with this transformation and to comment on what’s working for the shopper and what isn’t. We want BMC visitors and Black Belts to share their perspective and experiences at JC Penney, too. Apple isn’t the only interesting wrinkle in this story; Johnson started his retail career at Mervyn’s, and he’s watched the decline in the sector with dismay. We start with the thinking he laid out in a December 2011 interview in the Harvard Business Review. From the beginning, Johnson’s been clear that his ambition is to reinvent the department store experience.
Looking back at the NRF Big Show through the lens of the first quarter, three topics we noticed have become even more important: Shopper-centricity is rapidly becoming the cornerstone for succcess in 21st century retailing. Effective e-commerce means a lot more than just serving transactional needs. And new metrics are needed to justify investement and alight efforts related to social networking. I think it's a good idea to call them out for reaction and further comment.
UK-based investment analysts Marc de Speville and James Tracey of Redburn Partners applied a keen eye to the move that Europe’s leading electronics retailer, Metro, is making into multi-channel retailing. From Redburn’s perspective, “the internet represents an opportunity rather than a threat” for Metro, and they contend that being “late to the party” can be an advantage – one that allows a retailer to move directly to best practices.
What key drivers will reshape food shopping in coming years? When we asked the experts on BMC’s Food Segment team, we got four thought-provoking responses:
- Larry Kaagan says that science is changing our understanding of food.
- Martha Roberts is thinking about the impact of social trends.
- Krysten Hommel imagines creating feedback loops that use shoppers’ own data to add value.
- Jeff Dlott describes how his feedback loop is changing his shopping patterns.
All belong to Food Foresight’s Blue Ribbon Panel, an organization that develops trends intelligence for the food and agriculture industries. Here, we weave together some of the common themes repeated across their responses to give you peek around the corner at what’s coming.
We’re keeping an eye out for developments in these areas in 2012. Some may not directly influence shoppers and retailers today, but all will eventually affect the future of shopping. That said, we don’t recommend tossing out traditional ways of doing things – what’s important is to add the new ones to the mix of things you’re thinking about. New technologies never totally annihilate previous ones. What changes is the mix, and that combination continually changes over time.
Here’s a challenge I see: Every retailer needs to decide how they are going to deliver more value in the “new normal” marketplace, a place where shopper expectations are high, limits on disposable income are real, and technology delivers nearly limitless possibilities. A CEO I respect said not long ago, “It’s not yet clear to me which way to take our company.” I sense many of his peers are in a similar situation. There are no maps, and without some guidance, we’re likely to wander around for a while. One way to establish direction is to go back to a familiar reference point and modify it to work better in today’s world. I suggest we update the shopper value equation. Here’s a draft set of ideas about what’s needed to deliver value to 21st century shoppers for discussion, feedback, and improvement.
Something new is happening in retailing – to retailers. Shoppers still want easy access to products they want to buy when they want to buy them. What’s new is that innovators are aggressively rethinking some basic elements of the retail business model. Here’s what I’m seeing: retailers rethinking access, retailers responding to new demand drivers, and retailers taking new approaches to availability. To me, there are enough connectable dots to indicate that we’re approaching a major expansion in the range of ways we serve shoppers. Do you see what I see?
These days a growing number of retailers are trying to deliver greater value mainly through lower prices, so it was refreshing to hear the CEO of Delhaize Pierre-Olivier Beckers describe Food Lion's recent re-positioning in Raleigh, N.C. and Chattanooga, Tenn., as 'holistic change' in the shopper's experience. We think that keeping the bigger picture in mind is a good idea. Pricing is important, but it isn't the only source of value that influences where shoppers decide to shop.
The traditional shopper value equation - value = price x quality x variety x service x facility – doesn’t include elements that capture the impact of social media. Consider this a proposal, a draft framework for thinking about how shoppers benefit from their use of social media. And consider it a direct invitation: to discuss, debate, and refine these ideas into a hypothesis that can be tested in the marketplace. Ultimately, I believe we can collaborate to arrive at a new and more robust value equation that individual retailers can calibrate to fit their own situations.
I was rereading Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational the other day, and it occurred to me that behavioral economists are now digging up information that may well be the equivalent of the “dead sea scrolls” of great merchants. All merchants, no matter where they are on the brick meets click spectrum, could benefit from paying attention.
We've been tracking retailing professionals' experiences and attitudes toward big data for two years now, and more than 100 professionals participated in the October 2013 survey. The results confirm the increasingly important role big data is playing in "changing the game" of retailing.
With so much talk about omnichannel, we wanted to summarize our current thinking and point out some good executions. We plan to regularly update this paper and you can be part of this by suggesting an omnichannel execution that you feel shows how this is evolving. Just send a brief description of why you feel that it is unique and please keep in mind that content on Brick Meets Click is noncommercial; i.e. no selling.
BMC's second big data survey reveals that the relationship between big data and retail is evolving rapidly.
The findings in this report will help retailers at all stages of big data adoption either get started, decide where to place priorities, or compare their progress with what others in the industry are doing.
To better meet the needs of your customers, focus on six key questions:
- Why you need strong digital marketing?
- Where else do your customers search?
- How can you help customers plan their shopping?
- How Facebook can be your friend?
- What shoppers do with their phones?
- When to shift from print to digital?
Our retail Guidance for 2013 paper focuses on the most significant changes taking place among shoppers today. It identifies six key shopper trends, examines insights they reveal, and offers guidance for retailers on how to respond in the short and long term.
“Responding to shoppers is the most crucial component of successful retail strategies, and these six trends point the way,” says Bill Bishop, Chief Architect of Brick Meets Click.
The paper addresses shopper changes involving promotions, value capture, peer influence, stores, reliance on digital feedback, and online ordering confidence.
A Guide to What's Next: The evolution of shopper marketing is being driven by growing insight into shopper behavior and the relentless expansion of digital strategies, tools, and tactics.
This paper presents survey findings that explore several forward-looking hypotheses about the future of shopper marketing. It then translates the insights and implications that arise from these findings into actions that will help retailers increase the effectiveness of their shopper marketing programs as the discipline evolves.
This paper focused on ecommerce synthesizes shopper interviews, original research, and wide knowledge of what's happening in the retail sector to distill information with tremendous take-away value.
"We've been dealing with ecommerce for almost a decade now," says Bishop. "It's been a messy and fascinating time, but some solid principles are beginning to emerge for operating in the new landscape."
Big data is involved in one of the most important decisions that retailers face today: How much to invest in their digital infrastructure. The May 2011 McKinsey report was the first comprehensive, economy-wide examination of the topic. Here, we focus specifically on the retail sector.
In June 2012, we surveyed Brick Meets Click readers and followers to learn more about how retail professionals view the opportunities, benefits, and challenges big data offers.
Shoppers can access many technologies today while they are inside the store shopping via mobile shopping apps.
This paper takes a close look at one of them - a mobile app that combines mapping and indoor location technology with purchase history and intent.
The idea is to support the shopper in the moment with a spatially aware engagement engine that understands both what they are interested in and where they are in the store.
While it is possible to imagine that Amazon’s sales may surpass Walmart’s sometime in the next 5 to 10 years, what is playing out in the competition for the digitally engaged 21st century shopper indicates that multi-channel will dominate the landscape.
The "mobile-ization" of grocery shopping is underway as both smartphone apps and hand-held scanners move into more supermarkets and more shoppers' hands, shifting the actual point of sale away from the front of the store and into the aisles.
2011 was a watershed year for retailing, tech-enabled consumers, and the future of shopping – and food shopping is no exception.
This paper summarizes key findings and insights on digital innovation in grocery shopping developed during BMC's work on projects and studies in 2011 and offers guidance for 2012 and beyond.