PJ Stafford’s wide range of experience make him a great source for thinking about how ecommerce might transform the grocery marketplace. Here, the Co-President of Honest Green, the ecommerce division of UNFI, talks with us about why he's convinced grocery is ready to move into the mainstream of ecommerce, how natural retailers and supermarkets can serve the “Long Tail” needs of their customers, and what retailers need to do to take full advantage of the opportunity.
While many retailers are focused on delivering personalized promotions and products as a way to break through the clutter, shoppers have been quietly using the growing range of options to create what we call personalized supply chains. Heads up folks, this could be the next generation of shopper marketing. Business that used to go to traditional retail is being unbundled, and shoppers are shifting portions of their spending to channels (and retailers) where they can get their highly individualized needs met.
Each year the management consultancy Centigo AB produces, Centigo Retail Outlook, a major report on seven new retailing trends they’re seeing across the world. The reports are always full of creative insight and this year is no exception. Håkan Bengtsson, one of the report’s authors, is also a BMC Black Belt. We talked with him recently about some of the things they’ve learned during the work. Here’s a sample of what the team at Centigo is seeing.
Searching out new visions for food retailing – and the business leaders who champion them – is one of our passions. Lior Lavy is part of the team that launched Artizone, the online marketplace that's connecting shoppers with a host of artisan food purveyors in parts of Dallas and Chicago. We were impressed with their dedication to bringing customers quality, unique foods and by their intense business focus. Lior seems like a person who will not be denied. As you’ll see, Artizone is already defining its unique role in the evolution of online food shopping.
Last week, a panel at FMIConnect presented highlights from the final section of a major retail report on using the social web. Developed by grocery industry leaders for use by the industry, the report covers the topic in many dimensions. Michael Sansolo, the research director for the project, talks with us here about how the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council approached the project, what they learned from their latest research, and how they hope the complete report will be used by retailers.
Stuart Armstrong was pushing the boundaries of using POS data at IRI to understand shopping behavior when I first met him. Today, he’s pushing the boundaries of using digital screens to communicate with shoppers inside stores at ComQi. I think he has important things to say about where we’re going with the technology-enhanced shopping experience, which changes in the retail environment are most transformative, and how retailers and brands are using interactive screens to build customer relationships.
The shopping experience is becoming one of the key ways for food retailers to create competitive advantage as they try to stand out against the multitude of online and off-line choices consumers have today – it's also gaining importance because competing on price alone is getting more and more difficult. We went looking for concepts that other retailers could use directly or as a jumping off point for creating unique shopping experiences consistent with their own brands. Here are four that caught our eye.
Changes in the retail environment are clearly accelerating! Against this backdrop, we asked Ron Lunde for his thoughts. Formerly a senior merchandising executive at Super Valu, Grand Union, and Price Chopper – and an SVP with Leo Burnett, Ron is one person we know who can confidently address the ways in which digital is profoundly changing the way we shop.
As we explore how online grocery will grow, we see two approaches – either drive more sales to current online shoppers or bring entirely new groups/segments of shoppers into the online food market. When we first learned about Front Door Farms they struck us as a great example of the second option playing out.
So far, most of the retail food sector’s attention to technology has focused on helping people execute “traditional” shopping activities quicker and easier – building shopping lists, personalizing circulars, offering digital coupons – but there are signs that much bigger changes are on the way. Here's what I see.
With the growing activity around grocery ecommerce, it's a great time to delve into the potential of dark stores, the growth of click & collect, and the significance of different kinds of location analysis with someone who is already well up the learning curve. Given this objective, I immediately thought of Will Treasure who is a Director for the UK-based Javelin Group. His keen ability to explain how “getting the logistics right” for the many moving parts of a successful ecommerce grocery operation makes this Q&A a must-read.
Tom Furphy's unique journey through both in-store and ecommerce selling is what made me want to tap into his vision and thinking. After a successful tour with leading US food retailer Wegman’s, he served Amazon as VP of Consumables and AmazonFresh. There, his teams launched and oversaw the growth of Amazon’s Health & Beauty and Grocery businesses, the development of Subscribe-and-Save, and the launch of AmazonFresh local grocery delivery service. Today, he's chairman of IdeoClick, Inc.
Changing what you don't know (or aren't doing) can drive shopper engagement. I first came across the work of reach | influence while they were supporting an innovative shopper marketing program for IGA retailers. They were new to the food business, and the “fresh eye” their leadership brought to some long standing challenges was very helpful. They know a LOT about effective retail email practices, and I asked them to share some of their guidance and experience in a recent interview.
I've been watching Bob Wheatley bring a fresh consumer marketing perspective to a retail reinvention project, and I'm impressed with his ability to see where consumers are headed. He combines the skill and discipline of an accomplished CPG marketer with the quick reflexes of a successful retailer – important talents to bring if you want to play successfully in the brick meets click space. Here's our conversation.
Online shopping for grocery market baskets is becoming more common, but a lot of people who’d like to do it don’t have access to the service. Instacart is quickly opening up the option to many more shoppers and retailers in new markets. Here we talk with founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta about Instacart's interesting take on meeting shoppers needs.
We’re excited to release the findings of BMC’s latest Big Data survey in a new report. The results suggest five key questions that retail leaders who see value in big data should be asking themselves in order to capture competitive advantage.
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 an original article published in the RAND Journal of Economics. It’s good to get some answers, and some of them are surprising.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We first pointed readers to Andrew Stein's exciting idea for a radically new operating platform for commerce in an April Lookout. Now, we sit down to talk with him about it. The idea, which he first outlined An April 15 SteinVox blog, involves combining customer and merchant data (like the information Groupon collects) to build a platform capable of monitoring and reporting on retail activity in real time. Read on for a peek at what the future of shopping might look like.
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.
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.
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.
When Tim Dorgan first suggested teaching a class in shopper marketing, circa 2005, he was advised that the idea sounded more like a lecture than a class. Last year, he offered that class to students in the integrated marketing communications program at Northwestern’s Medill School – and the new course opened with a waiting list. Shopper marketing’s influence is growing, and its focus on the shopping experience is aligning brand, retailer, and shopper interests in new ways. We caught up with Tim between his day job (he runs Peapod’s interactive business and manages the company’s e-merchandising) and his teaching responsibilities at Medill to talk about the new course.
When do shoppers go digital and when do they go to the store? The answer to this question has important implications for retailers. At Brick Meets Click, we like to seek out real shoppers and talk with them in depth about how they shop and why they make the choices they do. It helps us understand where shoppers find value, where they struggle, and where there may be opportunities for retailers to better serve them. This time we sat down with Jackie, a stay-at-home mother of two in her early 30s.
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.
Every retailer wants a straightforward way to jumpstart the sales of underperforming stores or maybe their entire chain. This 12-minute presentation is an easy way to see if the growth platforms in The Playbook for Success can be of value to your company.
Sustainable food retail growth depends on increasing same store sales. Digital influence can help, but this requires a new approach to customer communications – one that provides a lot more than price and promotions and that delivers experiences that make shoppers want to engage and come back to the store again and again.
Many retailers are still struggling with what it means to deliver a great, unique in-store experience. This paper contains eight examples that will help retailers visualize personalized experiences and better serve their customers.
Brick Meets Click offers the retail industry a short list that’s long on opportunity. These five directives focus on what retailers can do to capture growth as a result of shifts taking place in both shoppers and the retail landscape.
Learn how today's shoppers are using online grocery options and what they're thinking when they try these services. See our key takeaway's about what's important for moving into grocery ecommerce.
Get a better understanding of what characteristics of the online grocery shopping offer are defining the market and see Brick Meets Click's three potential growth scenarios (conservative, moderate, and aggressive) based on market level assumptions.
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.
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.
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.
In June 2012, we conducted a survey 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.
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.
Personalization is a hot topic these days. We know that it adds value for shoppers, but we wanted to find out more specifically how grocery shoppers are experiencing these kinds of efforts by food retailers.
This short presentation aims to answer three questions. What pressures are shaping shopper needs today? How do we enhance the shopper value equation to frame competitive advantage? Where can we deliver value?