Many retailers are adding an online component to their business these
days, but you don’t often get a chance to see the process through the
eyes of the business leader who decided to make it happen. Today BMC talks
to one innovative retailer who did just that in order to grow her
business. Four and a half years ago Deborah Leydig opened Norton’s USA
in a former livery barn. The store sells only American-made goods. She
began selling online about eighteen months ago.
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.
What do the challenges of the brick meets click space look like to
independent grocers? They look a lot like the challenges the big chains
face, according to BMC Black Belt Mike Spindler. Mike attended the NGA
convention in Las Vegas last week, and we asked
him to share his perspective on key takeaways related to the digital
side of grocery shopping for these food retailers.
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.
BMC’s January 2012 Conversation about competing with Amazon is a great discussion. It made me stop and think about exactly what features Amazon – and Google – offer and how they appeal to shoppers. I hope the list below isn’t redundant. It’s offered in the spirit of learning, because we need to look at these platforms and e-commerce sites as ‘best of class’ benchmarks, and we should pay attention to their success. They suggest many ways that retailers can compete and find excellent complements to the brick-and-mortar parts of their businesses.
When I moved back home to Chicago after eighteen months in Los Angeles, the City-of-Driving-Everywhere, a friend recommended the car-sharing service Zipcar. It was the first time I’d ever considered personal transportation alternatives or the possibility of not owning a car. When I took the plunge, it changed my life – and it radically altered my shopping habits. NOTE: Patricia Joseph is Managing Director of Prospex Information and an enthusiastic observer of retail innovation and how new technologies change the shopping experience.
The National Retail Federation held its “Big Show” in New York last week, and we asked Francey Smith, BMC Black Belt and Shopper Engagement Segment Leader, for her topline impressions. Omni-channel marketing, customer-centricity, behavioral segmentation, infrastructure-building, and mobile were among the topics she singled out.
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.
The internet is profoundly changing the landscape for retail real estate. It is challenging the relevance, viability, and value of brick-and-mortar locations, and creating opportunities for retailers who are willing and able to pursue multi-channel strategies. Part of the brick-and-mortar response seems obvious, but new tools may also offer conventional retail locations some not-so-obvious opportunities. Note: Dr. David Rogers is president of DSR Marketing Systems, Inc., a Chicago-based consulting firm that specializes in retail research including store location analysis and consumer research.
Some BMC Conversations are just too good not to build out, so we’re hitting the “refresh” button on November’s question. Here, the ideas and insights that surfaced converge on answers to four important questions about how and when retailers adopt new technology.
BMC Black Belt Bob Sherlock has seen a lot of companies develop pricing decisions, and his new book titled Daring Caution: The Executive’s Guide to Pricing Improvement was published last month. Here he talks with Brick Meets Click about his favorite pricing principle, the factors involved in pricing decisions, how the gravitational pull of competitive pricing can skew a company’s thinking, and why he titled his book "Daring Caution." Bob is the President of Marketwerks, Inc.
Let me offer a perspective on the grocery industry from deep in the trenches. Shopper-centric marketing is a huge paradigm shift for grocery – with implications for organization structure, measurement and compensation schemes, and vendor relationships. To date, there are few publicized success models but there are grocers who have figured out how they need to run their businesses in this new way and they are beginning to reap the gains and talk about their returns.
Data. Data connected to product. Accurately. Accessed via the internet at home, via mobile phones and tablets on the go, via the package at the store. Data is increasingly making a difference in customer purchasing behaviors, and as shoppers grow more and more deliberate about their choices(1), their demands for information are growing as well. Today product manufacturers and retailers who can consistently connect accurate, verifiable data to products can create trust that translates to competitive advantage – but doing so is clearly proving to be a challenge.
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.
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
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.
I recently attended my 17th CRMC conference, and it made me
thoughtful about the changing position of customer relationship management in
the retailing world: After being born out of the catalog and mail order
business, and confined to advertising and promotions departments by brick and
mortar retailers for years, CRM is beginning to move to the center of the
In an excerpt from his book Competing in Tough Times, Barry Berman, distinguished professor of Business at Hofstra University, describes how L.L.Bean, Amazon.com, and Nordstrom use different variables to improve their customer's online shopping experiences.