Shopkick’s redesign aims to capture the
couch-to-store loop of the path to purchase. The new focus on layout and color
aspires to extend the app’s footprint to include more pre-shopping browsing.
Gamification isn’t gone entirely, but it’s not as prominent as it once was. Sarah Lacey says “Why fix something
that wasn’t broken?” in her Pandodaily review. But we think Shopkick is just
leveraging their strength in creating intent motivation to better serve shoppers' needs by entering the path to
purchase before the store.
We need to look in different places to get a full picture of leading-edge retail innovation, as Tom Van Aman observed in our recent blog on change, so Shane Happach's Huffington Post story caught our eye. Latin American shoppers are enthusiastically embracing ecommerce, which means that the leading traditional retailers across Latin America will be competing aggressively for this new business so they can better serve their customers.
We like how Charles Gold turns around the perspective on the path-to-purchase in this MENG blog. Gold says we focus too much on the internal - on sales processes, prospects, and tactics. Instead, he argues, we should be talking and thinking about buyers and buying processes.
The path to purchase took a quick digital turn for me at Kohl’s last week when they didn't have the turtle-neck shirts in-store that I wanted. “Try using the kiosk,” the store associate suggested. I did– and I used the coupon that gave us 30% off all purchases that day – and the shipping was free. I felt pretty satisfied. But I wasn’t the only shopper with a problem that turned into a purchase thanks to the kiosk.
About that mobile shopper touchpoint. Moving from retailer site to retailer site on a mobile device is a drag - but looking
across multiple retailers is part of the fun and sport of shopping. A new app called Flit claims to solve the problem by
giving shoppers access to over 1,000 stores in the same “place,” so to speak. Flit
is part of an ecommerce retail trend that aggregates offerings from different
retailers into “marketplaces” where shoppers can move among them easily, similar
to the way they do at a mall.
The Westfield Group, a mall operator whose revenues exceed Google, has launched a laboratory in their downtown San Francisco mall to study how shoppers are using smartphones to merge on-line & off-line worlds as they shop. It’ a great test & learn response to the fast changes that retail is undergoing – and the most practical approach for any business these days, whether new or established.
Will technology and ecommerce allow developing countries to skip the
big box store? Sanjeev Sanyal, a Global Strategist at Deutsche Bank,
argues that this is possible in India -- and that small stores will be
better equipped to compete with online sales than today's big boxes. He
writes in Project Syndicate: "We know from international experience that online shopping undermines
hypermarkets [big boxes like Super Walmart] more than neighborhood stores, which often offer . . ."
Are Touchcodes a game changer? They won the top spot in the WSJ Innovation Awards
because the judges thought so. Instead of the QR code drill - pull up
your camera and snap a picture - with Touchcodes, simply touch your
screen to the printed piece and Voila! The touch connects you to an
offer, game, video, or any other online feature.
We think Walmart’s To Go program
for same-day delivery is less about a direct competitive challenge to Amazon,
and more about the race to establish the right capabilities for success in 21st
century retailing. Despite the program’s limitations (it’s only available in
select markets and for select products) and even though Walmart characterizes
it as a response to Amazon, we think it significantly raises the bar for
everyone in retail.
Toy 'R Us recently announced they will offer a service that
streams and downloads only family-oriented movies and TV shows. It’s a great
example of how retailers are tapping digital opportunities to enter new lines
of business that will grow sales and leverage existing customer relationships. It’s a pretty competitive market. Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Walmart are already
present, but Toys 'R Us is betting that shoppers will like the non-subscription
pricing structure, and that they’ll value the collection of exclusively
It will be interesting to see how shoppers respond to Target’s tactic of putting QR codes on 20 of its top-selling toys this holiday season.
The QR codes enable shoppers to purchase the toy online while they are
in the store, and the strategy is aimed at heading off showrooming for
Amazon. Hmmm. In our experience, the most successful strategies
good job meeting shopper needs vs. being a response to the
A recent WSJ Market Watch article provides a clear look at the
somewhat messy reality of digital coupon deals. Paper coupons remain a tried
& true source of savings, but shoppers and brands alike are juggling
multiple web and mobile coupon platforms as well. Retailers and brands may
extend one set of offers on paper, another through their website, and yet
another on mobile apps like Shopkick. Organizing all this on a mobile phone can
be more difficult than paper coupons.
The iFactor report published by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist is definitely worth a
read. It delivers a clear and well-documented picture of how shopper technology
use is driving retail innovation across Europe. The findings are based on a
survey of 300+ retailers in the UK, Italy, France and Russia, and in-depth
interviews with eight c-level executives. Retailers from
North America and other parts of the world can gain much from observing these efforts to respond to new shopper expectations.
One of the influences limiting retail sales growth is
consumer spending on cell phone and data plans, as this WSJ article explains.
To make room for bigger “phone” bills, especially while incomes are flat or
declining, shoppers are having to make choices and shift spending. Cell plan providers expect
spending on their services will continue to increase as consumers get hooked on
speed, want new equipment, bigger plans, etc. "Speed entices more
usage," Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said at an investor
conference last week. "The more data they consume, the more they will have
Retailers continue to experiment with ways to neutralize the
negative effects of showrooming, but the real challenge is to find a way to live
with it and prosper, because this is a permanent change. The genie is not going
back into the bottle. A recent Knowledge@Wharton piece called "Turning the
Retail 'Showrooming Effect' into a Value-add" ties together some fresh
information with observations from some academic heavy hitters.
All clothing shopping occasions, as well as other fashion-defined products.
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