Retailers typically try to achieve hyper-localization by altering the assortment in specific stores, so Starbucks’ novel approach to localization caught our eye. They’re designing the exterior of a new wave of stores to reflect the materials, attitudes, and styles of the area where the store is located. This Fast Co article explains the program. The new stores are smaller, modular, factory-built and assembled on-site, but their exteriors vary. The façade of a Colorado store is clad in Wyoming snow fencing, for example.
On the go and want to order a deli sandwich, no waiting?
Publix is making that easy with an online ordering system
that adds another digital touchpoint for thier shoppers. Simply access the internet via a mobile device
or computer to select a sub, toppings, and even how thinly the
meat should be sliced; then specify a pickup time. The store emails a confirming order number.
All shoppers have to do is show up, collect the order, and pay. No waiting to order,
no waiting for prep, and shorter transaction times.
A recent National Association of Convenience Stores/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council report
focuses on identifying growth opportunities for convenience retailers,
learnings have implications for others as well. The project began with a
“What can our shoppers tell us that would encourage them to spend more
stores?” For answers, the Council, known as NACS/CCRRC, turned to some innovative shopper
research. The findings revealed valuable insights into how shoppers
think about convenience occasions, and these led to development of five new potential growth platforms. Here are two points that retailers of
all stripes can use in their search for growth opportunities with
Digital fronts – in place of glass fronts – may soon make vending
machine purchasing feel more like regular shopping. We came across this WDM Group
interview with Dr. Michael L. Kasavana at FoodDigital. He’s a
NAMA-endowed professor at Michigan State University’s School of
Hospitality Business, and he highlights changes being tested by the
industry. We like how many are aimed at creating interaction with
shoppers - not just servicing a transaction.
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
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.
More restaurants are using or testing interactive screens at the table (see the Wall Street Journal article "Screens get a place at the table").
The “a la carte menu” of functions includes ordering, paying, viewing
food, drink and dessert pictures, and even playing games to pass the
time. We get it that the small screens can improve service sometimes
(people love bypassing the wait for a server when it’s time to pay), but
we’ve also got questions.
The Mobile Age is young yet. The platform hasn’t reached critical mass, experimentation is still the rule rather than the exception, and
shoppers’ options are different depending on the equipment they use (Blackberry, Apple, or Android). It’s way too early to sum up what
Mobile means for retail. Check out this Cognizant infographic, published in a recent Forbes blog.
3 out of 4 smartphone owners enable a location-based service to get directions,
recommendations, or other information related to their location, but only 1 in
4 checks in to a geosocial service such as Foursquare, according to a new Pew
The recent Facebook IPO raised expectations and initial
market reaction has tempered them. Where
is the real value to retail? The recent BMC original paper Making
Facebook Work for Retail looks at three practical ways Facebook can create value for
retailers beyond being an advertising vehicle. The concepts of attracting, engaging and
involving are not new; however, the reason to focus on them now is that only a
few have put them into action. Many are missing this opportunity. The paper shows how taking action to attract, engage and involve can yield
“new found money.” Who would walk away from that?
Facebook's IPO has generated another round of speculation about it's
value as a business – and whether or not it has value for retailers who
are trying to use the platform to connect with customers. Here, David
Bishop looks at some of the things retailers are doing right as they
work to attract, engage, and involve customer-fans. The most successful
Promote their digital assets like they promote their physical assets.
Develop ongoing processes for responding to customer comments.
Invite customers into meaningful discussions about topics that are relevant to them.
Social media strategies are ultimately about creating value
for customers, Bishop writes, and his examples show that the value
created may extend far beyond the transactional. Making customers feel
recognized, meaningfully involved, and influential builds very strong
bonds.To download a free copy of this paper, click "more" and complete the short form.
A new report from The Integer Group called The Complex Shopper segments
shoppers based on their behaviors related to research, social media,
and brand relationship as they prepare and execute a purchase. The
groups are Experience Lovers (29%), Fretting Frugals(31%), Passive
Purchasers (25%), and Social Adventurers (15%).
Now being called geofencing, this local angle on
broadcasting retail offers to mobile devices close to the
store is one we've been watching for a while. Shoppers choose whether or not to sign up for the alerts, and if
they opt in, they'll get messages when they travel within range of the
retailer. Some big names are trying it, among them North Face, Kieh's,
and Maurices; nobody's claiming a home run yet.
Jon Steel delivered a talk at The Store Conference in Sydney on March 9, 2012, titled "Basic Instinct: The Human Truth About Retailing in a Digital World." In it, he takes a trip in the retail and customer feedback time machine to illustrate that commonalities and human tendencies do not change, even though technology gives us different and perhaps bigger walls to post our opinions on. He uses humor and his dry British wit to deliver some calm, cool advice . . .
Segment Scope & Leadership
Convenience-driven shopping occasions across retail and foodservice channels.