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.
Transparency is completely changing the way salespeople work and are compensated in the auto industry. “The heavy lifting is now done online and if you’re not in
that flow, you’re not going to see the bulk of the business,” explains an 18-year
veteran of car sales in a recent WSJ article.
Shoppers have been researching new car purchases on the web
for years, but they usually had to visit a dealer to seal a deal. Not any more.
GM is expanding Shop-Click-Drive, an online shopping tool that allows customers
to bypass that step.
Though the technology in shoppers’ hands gets most of the
buzz, we shouldn’t forget the potential of in-store technology to influence and
enhance the in-store experience. Here’s a piece on digital signage that shows
how it works in convenience store settings.
Canadian Tire reintroduces its shopping site later this year
as part of the company’s commitment to using digital technology to improve their
relationship with customers. They may be playing catch-up, but it sounds like they're doing all the right things.
When Chuck Martin suggested that car dealers could capture
huge value from tapping the data generated by shopper scans of QR codes, he got
our attention. Typically, these haven't been thought of as two-way communications.
Times are changing. High transaction costs used to limit the number of sellers
in the market, but not any more. The internet has made it possible for many
more people to become sellers – and renters. The net result is what some call the "Sharing Economy" and it is getting the attention of shoppers and other stakeholders in the commercial marketplace.
Changes are on the horizon for car
sales. A recent Wall Street Journal article describes the current status this
way: “dealers are still learning how digitally savvy customers behave.”
Ironically, new car buyers spent 12.5% more time negotiating deals in 2012 than
they did in 2010, even though they averaged 18 hours of online research before
the purchase – why?
SideCar slices the task of getting from point A to point B
even thinner by giving people an easy way (via a mobile app) to connect with
drivers who will take them from one point to another. This can be an interesting model for others looking to innovate
and create engagement.
specifics in the Playbook for Success, published by NACS/CCRRC, apply to convenience retailers, but the principles
apply to all: Deliver on the basics, defend your turf, and attract new
business. To find the right opportunities to use technology to drive sales and
improve performance, sometimes it helps to step back and look at the big
Check out the BMC paper Big Data & Retail: Where are we today?, and post your opinion
on big data in retail here. BMC conducted a survey in June 2012 to learn more about how retailing
professionals understand big data, and it's opportunities, benefits, and
challenges. The paper presents the results of that survey.
“Consumer technology use has shifted the balance
of power from retailers to shoppers,” we say, but has the industry fully grasped how
far the pendulum could swing? “No!”
says Doc Searls in a provocative WSJ column. He describes a future in which
shoppers define and drive what could be called the “C2B” economy via
“intentioncasts.” They broadcast their need to vendors who meet their terms and conditions, collect
offers from them, and then make a selection. He calls it VRM (for Vendor
Relationship Marketing), and it completely reverses the direction in which
Over the last several months we’ve asked the thought leaders in
several Brick Meets Click segments to share what’s happening in their
business that would be of interest to the broader community. In this
blog, Phil Bishop and Joe Register talk about how digital technology is
changing shopping in the automotive aftermarket and positively impacting
product marketing and supply chain efficiency.