retailers are increasingly turning to dieticians as a way to differentiate
themselves now that technology has made price transparency so accessible to
recent Ad Age article tracks the trend and the drivers behind it.
It’s useful to see an argument in support of category management since
some people have already concluded that being shopper-centric requires
moving away from the traditional product/category orientation in order
to organize around shoppers’ needs for CPGs. The “net” winners
of this debate will have a significant impact on how retail analysis of data creates
value for shoppers, retailers, and suppliers in the future.
Yoke’s Fresh Market is testing a promotion system that
allows shoppers to touch an offer on an in-aisle screen, place the item in an RFID equipped shopping cart or
basket, and collect the discount at checkout where it’s printed on the receipt.
the new “Fulfilled by Sears” program, the retailer seeks to leverage their
extensive IT and distribution capabilities by offering an online marketplace
experience. Third-party sellers will be able to get exposure to “Shop Your Way”
rewards customers, and Sears will handle fulfillment. We think the new venture has a lot going for it but we also have some questions.
We think Savenia Labs is a great example of providing shoppers with additional product information before making a purchase. This independent testing lab and information services company rates and scores the energy use and carbon footprint of counter-top appliances and electrical products.
A new Economist Intelligence Unit report, In Search
of Foresight and Insight: Getting
the Most out of Big Data, explores how to better ask questions that extract
business value from data. Here are five key findings.
Food for thought: Mark Rogowsky does a nice job of defining
the challenge of keeping up with state-of-the-art 21st century retailers in his
recent Forbes article, Amazon and Safeway: Magic vs. Maddening. Rogowsky compares his Amazon experience, which continues to focus
relentlessly on shopper satisfaction, to his experience at his local Safeway,
where his frequency of visits has diminished from “regular” to “once a month or so” over the last several years.
Foursquare Labs Inc., the startup that created an app enabling people to “check-in” their current location via smartphone, seems to be positioning itself in the thick of efforts to transform the shopping experience. They’re rapidly evolving from a check-in tool into a search app that helps create new sources of value for shoppers from geo-location data.
When big data analysis gets applied to apparel returns, some shoppers are going to find out that “wear/use-and-return” scams will not be as easy to pull off. This practice costs retailers a lot of money (about $8.9 billion in 2012), but many have accepted it as a cost of doing business. See how data is making it possible to get smarter with tracking and even preventing retail returns.
The startup Storefront could change shopping dramatically by making it a lot easier for popup retailers to fill voids in high-traffic commercial real estate. We think shoppers are increasingly attracted to this kind of dynamic shopping experience.
Keep an eye on Peapod. They practically invented modern
online grocery shopping and they’re continually adapting to the changing the
shopping experience. Here
are some of the ways Peapod is working to make the shopping experience as quick
and painless as possible.
Did you see the negative shopper comments
about self-service mobile scanning in this recent MediaPost blog? The comments are understandable, but everything
we see tells us that “the sky’s the limit” for mobile self-service.
Digital technology now allows retailers to take customer
service and engagement to a scale never before possible. Everyone knows that
this is important but the question has always been how do we do it well and consistently? Here's a white paper that will help.
important for grocery retailers to see and embrace how integral mobile has
become to grocery shopping for many customers, both in and out of the store. Here are some interesting stats on shoppers' use of mobile technology that make the case.
Loyalty programs are moving in the direction of coalition
vs. single operator programs. It’s easy
to see the shopper benefits - shoppers earn rewards quicker
and get multi-channel convenience at the same time. We expect, however, that coalition programs are more likely to grow
organically rather than sweeping across the market with as a
If Act I of multi-channel retail was brick and mortar moving
aggressively into digital
shopper engagement and ecommerce channels, then Act II must be the
phenomena of eretailers like UK-based Kiddicare buying 10 vacant Best
Buy stores in Britain to open physical stores.
Google’s test of a same-day service called Google Shopping Express mean they’re
serious about getting into retail?
Or are they just looking for a way to sell more online ads? Either way,
retailers need to pay attention.
Mobile is making it harder to capture shopper’s attention in
lots of ways. The challenge is particularly acute at the checkout, where wait
time is more often spent looking at a small screen than the racks of store
merchandise, magazines, and candy these days.
Walmart’s big investment in ecommerce is paying dividends:
ecommerce sales are up and the enterprise-wide technology platforms will give
both shoppers and buyers access to real-time trend information on products.
Combining two businesses in the same “asset” is a proven,
powerful business model. Now ShopCube combines online retail with casual gaming
to launch what it calls the world’s first tournament shopping site.
Alibaba, the privately held Chinese
ecommerce giant, is mainly a marketplace rather than an online retailer. Sales
pass through the company vs. Alibaba selling their own products directly to
customers. The Economist speculates that it could become “one of the
world’s most valuable companies” within five years.
Do shoppers really want/value same day delivery? When the
Boston Consulting Group asked if same day delivery improved the online shopping
experience, only young high-income urban dwellers (yes, Yuppies) responded with
enthusiasm. We’re not so sure things will stay this way though.
Raley’s social marketing twist on the venerable loyalty program is
worth a look. “Something Extra” eliminates the card and personalizes shopper
rewards – then it hooks up with social marketing via “Try It.” The move to social marketing gives Raley’s a
scalable way to both expand their strong community of shoppers and market to
At Hointer former Amazon technology VP Nadia Shouraboura
aims to combine the best features of online and brick-and-mortar shopping and
“get rid of the worst.” Shouraboura is working hard to “eliminate the friction
points,” and she calls Hointer “truly and experiment in innovation.” The Seattle store is interesting on so many levels and definitely worth your time to learn more about.
Don’t miss Internet Retailer’s commentary “Can Google Save
Retail Stores?” by Don Davis. It’s a
must read because of the way it lays out the operational challenges retailers need
to overcome to successfully partner with Google – delivery, inventory, even
pricing. What, however, will be the fate of retailers who become too dependent on Google?
Target’s acquisition of Chefs Catalog and the assets of
Cooking.com, both of which operate in the online space, shows that Target is
positioning itself to serve customers with an even broader offer related to preparing
meals at home.
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.
What started out as a project to replace traditional paper
signs with iPads changed significantly when the design team put the target shopper,
young women who live on online, at the center of the design process. It forced
them to confront this question: “Why even go to a physical store anymore?”
Apple recently won a patent to protect their retail store
design, and Denise Lee Yohn quickly grasped the significance of this new pivot
point: It completely changes the way we think about physical stores, how we
differentiate them, and the role that differentiation plays. Here’s the provocative suggestion she offers retailers in
her recent Chain Store Age article: “What if we considered our stores as products?”
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?
Who wins the shopper and what’s the marketing value of social media vs. traditional
online sources of information? New
research from Radius Global Market Research suggests there’s no single answer,
but it does blow away some of the haze. Overall, understanding specifically how your
current and prospective customers are using information sources, will help you meet
them where they are.
For food retailers who are used to “drafting” behind CPG
marketing efforts, the generally low level of CPG enthusiasm/investment in
digital shopper marketing can be confusing.
Currently, only a few grocery retailers see what is happening and are
using their own marketing dollars to fund highly-efficient digital shopper
marketing, but retailers’ objectives are quite different than those of their
retailers who are interested in doing more with digital marketing, here are two key
new website speaks volumes about shifts in the consumer marketplace: When
the world’s largest producer of ground beef launches a website to improve
customer experience, it highlights that a strong digital presence is needed
even when you’re an unbranded commodity provider.
Betzaleli’s distinction between retailer-owned and shopper-owned POS capabilities draws attention to the fact (and opportunity) that with mobile scanning and shopping, it’s not always necessary for the retailer to invest in the actual hardware. It’s about giving digitally-empowered shoppers the choices they want for self-service.
SoloHealth kiosks at Walmart are one of many developments that are changing the
way people get information on their health. That will also be changing the
way people shop, but
unless the system can gain (and maintain) the shopper’s trust, none of the
stakeholders will get a return on this important innovation.