It was fascinating to read this quote in a profile of Groupon’s CEO that posted in Bloomberg/Businessweek on Friday: “The CEO’s focus now is on building what [Andrew] Mason calls the
‘operating system for local commerce’ – a suite of software and
technology services that would embed Groupon into every facet of every
transaction on Main Street.” We started following this idea back in April when we saw a blog
by Andrew Stein at Steinvox.com. An expert in platforms technology and
strategy, Stein spun a scenario in which Groupon could use its customer and
merchant data to build a platform capable of monitoring and reporting on
retail activity in real time.
Sometimes too much service works to the disadvantage of traditional
retailers. Clinique has been shifting to an “open sale” environment that
combines hands-on product displays (including one for “best sellers”)
with digital tablets and easy to find price lists. Sales are up, so
delivering a more personalized shopping experience, but less one-on-one
service is evidently what today’s high-end cosmetics shopper is looking
for. The message for retailers? Improving the experience for shoppers
today is about providing service – but not the same kind of service
people were looking for 15 years ago. Backing off can be exactly the
From Black Belt
Leigh Sparks in Scotland: Food retailer Tesco bought digital music seller We7 recently
as reported in this Guardian article. Tesco also bought online movie renter
Blinkbox earlier in the year. And Sainsbury’s, another UK-based food retailer,
has purchased a 64% stake in digital book retailer Anobii. It’s interesting to
see leading retailers (of food and other products) looking for content to extend
their operations, broaden their offer, and grow by giving their current
customers the opportunity to buy more from them – via the web.
We're noticing more and more shopping apps that combine local mapping with news
about what's for sale nearby - sometimes very nearby. Some map store
interiors. Walmart and Meijer supermarkets offer location-based shopping
apps to help customers find products inside the store. Others, like
Snapette, aim to map shopping districts, and will require not just user
buy-in, but also brand/store adoption to succeed.
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
“There is something that can compete with and beat free-shipping, and that is in-stock, right now, and near me,” said Stephen Gillett,
president of Best Buy Digital, global marketing and strategy at the
company's shareholder meeting last week. The consumer electronics giant,
ground zero in the showdown over showrooming, plans to equip associates
with tablets and training so they can help in-store customers do all the
online research they need in order to make a purchase.
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.
Retailers are wrestling with which way to go - mobile site or mobile app. According to this recent Mashable
blog, recent surveys indicate people are gravitating toward mobile
sites for shopping, searching, and entertainment, and mobile apps for
managing data, navigation, and connecting with others.
eBay has built a new tool for online shopping around
the idea that shoppers like to consult their friends about what they need to
and/or should buy. “Help Me Shop” makes it possible to clip and collect items
from across the web, organize them into a poll, and ask Facebook friends to
vote (by invitation or by posting to the FB wall).
One of the Apple announcements that caught our interest was a new way for mobile app developers to track users of their software. We think the net result is that shoppers are going to be asked for permission to use their data more often – and that shoppers’ awareness of the value of their data will grow.
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?
We liked Suzy Sandberg’s recent blog in Mobile Commerce Daily on "4 ways retailers can fight showrooming."
Several of her ideas went beyond the usual competitive pricing and
location-based search ad advice, among them: Deliver strong merchandising, and push coupons.
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 . . .
From BMC Black Belt Dan Seliger: “Check out kiip.me - this is really a
next-level look at mobile advertising. Basically it delivers in-game
rewards (i.e. a coupon) as the user climbs levels. Instead of Pepsi
placing a banner (ineffective, interruption), they reward the gamer for
completing a level with a discount. Add location to the mix, and you
could have something very interesting. Could this be the next wave of
Priceline meets e-commerce at the new online shopping site, Netotiate.
Netotiate allows shopper to search for an item, choose a participating
retailer, and then name a price. The retailer has 48 hours to accept or
reject the offer. Customer and retailer are negotiating, get it? The
About Us page explains the
founders felt that "the market with its knowledgeable,
price-conscious consumers, and merchants who are constantly
looking to attract consumers and compete with the leading on-line
was ready for something new."
Shopping for products and services not included in other segments - electronics, entertainment, home & garden, etc.
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