Segment Central



Groupon 1: An operating system for commerce

GrouponGIt 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 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.


"Backing off" while shoppers shop

Stop HandSometimes 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 customer wants.


Buying digital to broaden the offer

digital musicFrom 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.


Snapette: Another entry in location-based retail apps

Phone with MapWe'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.


Showrooming: Best Buy fights back

Best Buy Logo“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.

Blog Post

A growth manifesto for a slow economy

seedling hands 2I’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.


eBay's new Help Me Shop tool

eBay Help Me ShopeBay 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).


Where is Facebook’s real value to retail?

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?


Technology may change, but people stay the same

Smile Graffiti 2Jon 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 . . . 

Lookout, Brian Wong, and emotions

Brian WongFrom BMC Black Belt Dan Seliger: “Check out - 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 mobile advertising?”


Netotiate: More power to the shopper

Hand Shake on TabletPriceline 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 megastores, was ready for something new."