The Lookout

Pricing backfire?

rapid price changesIs there a downside to algorithm-generated price changes? Will shoppers find that too many price deals over time are a turnoff? Worse, will they create skepticism about the retailers’ trustworthiness?  

Rakuten, Japan's ecommerce leader, seeks to expand global retail footprint

Japan magnifying glassChecking 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.

New shopper touchpoints where food meets health

woman dr w green apple 2At 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.

Digital disruption and grocery shopping trends

Green grocery basketWhen 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 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 personalized nutrition filters . . .

Macy's adds in-store GPS at NYC flagship

Macy's app iconThe 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).

Shopper data - who will control it?

Lock and KeyWe think it’s important to keep watching the idea that shoppers can and will take more ownership and control of their data in the future. In this Baynote blog, Marti Tedesco explores the idea that 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. . .

Another multi-channel move for Toys 'R Us: In-store payment for online purchases

legos 2Toys ‘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 moves into new territory on the path to purchase

Shopkick app logoShopkick’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.

Walgreens reaches for shopper touchpoint with new mag

Walgreens logoThis 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.

Ecommerce growing in Latin America

South AmericanWe 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.

Helping shoppers choose healthier food

Healthy food choicesCan 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.

Kohl's kiosk alters the path to purchase

The pKohl's kioskath 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.

Flit: Making a mobile shopper touchpoint more like the mall

Mall shopperAbout 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.