The Hub Magazine awarded it's Ultimate Prize to Asian Paints’ flagship, The Colour Store, which used technology and imagination to move
shoppers from the old feeling that painting and choosing paint is painful
to a new feeling that is fun and interactive.
Walmart suppliers recently identified Amazon.com and dollar
stores as the top competitive threat to Walmart, so it’s especially interesting
that the majority also report “working with Walmart.com is a challenging
The Evzdrop app got press as a Black Friday
assist for shoppers, but we were struck by it’s potential for building
real-time, location-based communities in which retailers and shoppers could both
Yesterday I got to see some mobile shopping trends up close and personal. The woman ahead of me at the checkout was trying out SnipSnap, and she'd already consulted her Pinterest ideas while walking the store.
Checking in on international ecommerce trends from
time to time is valuable. At the Asia Media Summit, Rakuten emphasized
expansion into markets beyond Japan, where the company is responsible for a
third of all online transactions. Their stated goal is to increase
outside-Japan revenues from the current 10% level to 70%. In the near term,
they’re looking to set up operations in an additional 7 markets, for a total of
27 so far.
At BMC, we think the intersection of food shopping and
health is an important space to watch for opportunity. A shift driven by the
increasing use of mobile devices is beginning to change the relationship
between patient and healthcare professionals to one of more continuous care. We
think this will expand options for shopper touchpoints that help guide food purchase
decisions against a specific health goal.
When a shopper becomes digitally connected, they are going to
be influenced by whole new set of touchpoints earlier in the process and herein lies opportunity. Read this
recent bazaarvoice.com blog. It describes a valuable scenario that shows the
way grocery shopping could play out in the future. Tara Demarco
does a great job of showing how shoppers could be influenced by direct
communications from manufacturers and bloggers, and even leverage
nutrition filters . . .
The addition of in-store GPS to Macy's
iPhone app for its flagship NYC store is one more sign of how shoppers are going to be able to navigate
stores more easily in the future – and be guided to featured products and deals
while they’re in the store, too. The GPS systems, provided by suppliers such as
Meridian and Point Inside, are becoming more accessible to retailers (and
museums and hotels and hospitals).
We think it’s important to keep watching
the idea that shoppers can and will take more ownership and control of
data in the future. In this Baynote blog,
Marti Tedesco explores the
IBM carbon nanotube technology could make micro-personalization possible;
shoppers could wear their data into the store for seamless communication
with retailers in the future. We wondered about shoppers
"micropersonalizing" the data they want to share - by deciding which information they want to supply to which
businesses and retailers. Doc Searls. . .
Toys ‘R Us joins a growing list of retailers who now accept in-store
payment for online orders. We think the shift signals a growing
awareness among retailers of how multi-channel the shopping experience has become. As more and more shoppers seek and expect a
blended experience, the boundaries between online and offline are softening. By accepting
in-store payment for online orders, retailers
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.
The path to purchase in the supermarket increasingly includes smartphone use,
but WHO is using them is what caught our attention. The gap between
millennials and older shoppers is quite small, according to the study featured
in this Supermarket News article. Just 1% to 3% separated millenials from
shoppers ages 30 to 65 across a wide spectrum of activities.
This weekend, Walgreens reached out to a major shopper touchpoint
with the introduction of their new Happy and Healthy Magazine in many
Sunday newspapers. Did you get yours? The glossy magazine will appear
twice a year, and it's heavy on “solutions” – both health and lifestyle -
for a wide variety of shoppers. We think this new retailer magazine is important to note for two reasons.
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.
Can a video game help people make healthier food decisions? What about a dietician in the supermarket? A gaming expert recently joined the faculty of UConn to explore creating gaming environments that ultimately teach health prevention and improvement lessons. For the supermarket-based game, the player’s cart is measured and rated based on the degree to which it contains healthy food. For a perspective on how dieticians in supermarkets can help shoppers improve their health through better food choices, see this pdf from Black Belt Ray Stone.
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.
You think Amazon or Facebook could never seriously compete for grocery
business? Nobody thought housing prices would fall before the meltdown,
either. Mike Spindler is running a fascinating thought experiment in a
series of blogs that explore these very possibilities at The Branded
Pantry. He imagines Amazon networking a series of Depots through
partnerships with existing retailers
like WaWa -- giving customers convenient access to a wider array of
merchandise and new reasons for "going to the store." Facebook, he says,
natural for the "Health Through Better Lifestyle" market.
Don't read this blog too quickly or you might miss the message. What Jon Bird is saying is that customers care a LOT about exercising their new power in the retail marketplace to get what they want, when they want it, and at a price they’re willing to pay. What customers don’t care about is whether it’s hard for any individual retailer to meet his or her needs, because there are plenty of other retailers standing in line to take care of them, if for some reason you can’t.
Everyone is focused on finding ways to engage younger
shoppers, and this Coke vending machine in a South Korea seems to be doing a pretty
good job getting their attention. It's also distributing a bunch of free Coke, at
least to those who are willing to dance for it. You can watch the video at David Hill's Singularity Hub blog.
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.
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.
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
What would happen to shopping patterns if a major e-retailer
like Google, Amazon, or Facebook grabbed a big role in food marketing and
distribution? It would surely change the options for the “every household, every
week” grocery shopper – and the competitive landscape for retailers. BMC Black Belt Mike
Spindler explores these scenarios in a provocative series of blogs at The
Branded Pantry. More than creative speculation, they offer grounded foresight
into how the digital march to dominate groceries will play out.
The new SoloHealth Station kiosks being installed in Sam’s
Club stores around the country are another expression of retail-based portals
into the health care system. The bilingual kiosks will provide free screening
for vision, blood pressure, weight, and body mass index – but beyond being a
symptom checker/health assessment, “it also helps connect consumers to local professionals
through their databases,” says Stone Hearth News, “helping people enter the
most appropriate and accurate point in the health care system.”
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.