Author Archives: Dan Frechtling

IS RETAIL SALES DECLINE A CAUSE FOR PANIC?

On Jan 14, the US Census Bureau reported weaker-than-expected month-over-month results in USShould I worry consumer spending in December. While the magnitude was small, the number was preceded by a minus sign, which was a surprise to many. Most widely quoted was the .9% drop from November to December in retail sales and food services. This was the largest month-to-month decline in nearly a year and caused a broad stock market drop.

Panic!

The results were naturally tweeted, posted, headlined, shared, and retweeted. In a world where data gets slammed into sound bites and 140-character text strings, a great deal of pessimism circulated around digital media. Even professional analysts and economists sang the blues.

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Categories: Analytics, In-store | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING MEANS TAKING THEIR WORD FOR IT

try it

In a study organized by the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), analysts found that offline word-of-
mouth impressions drive at least 5x more sales than paid ad impressions, and up to 100x for highly planned purchases.

Further, consumer conversations drive action immediately—within 2 weeks of purchase—much  closer to the purchase point than conventional media.

Together, online and offline word-of-mouth account for 13% of consumer sales, which represents $6 trillion in annual consumer spending.

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Categories: Branding, Online, Social | Tags: , | 3 Comments

WILL THE US EMBRACE SINGLES DAY?

hurray single

Singles Day falls on November 11, cleverly playing on the four “single” digits of 11/11. It’s hailed as the opposite of Valentine’s Day and a guilt free excuse to treat yourself. Maybe you missed it. I sure did.

As George Anderson notes in RetailWire, this solo occasion is racking up multi-billions. In 2014, it surpassed $9B globally, exceeding Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Most interesting is its origin. A popular Chinese holiday since the late 90s, it has been exported by Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) on its AliExpress US marketplace and imported by other large sites like Overstock.com and Dealmoon.com. As the largest global IPO ever, Alibaba carries some clout these days.

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Categories: In-store, Online, Social | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

THE POWER OF POSITIVE SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE

social advocatesYou’d be hard pressed to find a marketer or merchandiser today who doubts the value of online reviews in the purchase decision. If you’re one of the skeptical 10%, see for yourself what 90% of consumers say.

If you’re one of the 90% still reading, you get to consider higher order questions, such as the impact of negative and positive sentiment in reviews specifically and social media generally.

In the beginning, reputation monitoring and social media management traditionally acted as insurance—limiting the downside from negative comments or reviews.

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Categories: Social | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BEYOND SHOWROOMING, MOBILE POWERS SHOPPING

Smartphones improve shopping experienceNikki Baird wrote in Retailwire this week that  almost every shopping behavior is being shortened by mobile technology.

The behavior that most immediately comes to mind is showrooming. Buying a new TV used to mean driving to Circuit City, Best Buy, Sears and the local shops to compare prices during an afternoon. Now the same exercise (with different retailers) takes minutes.

There are other areas where mobile is faster, cheaper, and better. For most retailers, it’s about better service. But to monetize the moments, most insert promotions or transaction opportunities.

Indoor Mapping. The last year has seen a shift in retailers from being slightly aware to acutely aware of wayfinding, according to Patrick Connolly, senior analyst at ABI Research in London. He notes that Walgreens has already Continue reading

Categories: In-store, Mobile, Pre-store, Promotions | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

RESTAURANTS NO LONGER LEAVE PRICE ON THE TABLE

Restaurant blog imageWhen you think of variable pricing for revenue management, you tend to think of the travel industry. After all, airlines invented yield management  and hotels soon followed. But along the way came a lot of customer frustration and confusion.

Restaurants, on the other hand, have been at dynamic pricing for even longer and don’t get such a bad rap. Cutesy names like Happy Hour and Early Bird Special take the bite out of revenue management.

Despite the long history, restaurants are only beginning to tap into the power of revenue management. Continue reading

Categories: Analytics, Local, Promotions | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

WHY LOCAL REWARDS ARE SO DOGGONE REWARDING

Digital loyalty programs are poised to jump from the pioneers to the masses of local restaurants, cafes, bars, salons and more that rely on repeat business. Companies like LevelUp, LocalBonus, Five Stars, Swipely, RewardMe, Square and others are rapidly expanding to new cities. Peter Krasilovsky, vice president at BIA/Kelsey, told Bloomberg over $155 million in VC money has been invested in digital loyalty-card companies.

What are the benefits of e-loyalty programs for local businesses and why is this sector likely to surpass daily deals? The three accelerants are cost, performance and insights.

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Categories: Analytics, Local, Loyalty, Mobile, Promotions | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

GOODBYE KIOSK, HELLO AUTOMATED RETAlL

As prospects for certain classes of kiosks dim, the future of automated retail has never looked brighter.

A fork in the road for traditional kiosks

Traditional electronic kiosks have gone the way of ubiquity or obsolescence.

Some kiosks drew too much traffic, requiring busy individuals to wait in line. Financial services solved this problem by scaling up–there are now nearly 500K ATMs in the US. Airlines solved this problem by bulking up–there are now commonly dozens of ticket dispensers in airport check-in lines.

Other kiosks drew little traffic, yielding added space and maintenance costs. As a result, kiosks providing entertainment, health and beauty information have diminished in mass merchandise retailers like Walmart and Target.

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Categories: In-store, Mobile, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

COULD GOOGLE ‘PAID INCLUSION’ AID LOCAL BIZ?

After a decade, Google Product Search is transitioning from a free organic search tool into a paid inclusion service called Google Shopping. This new pay-for-placement has generated its share of detractors:

Google is compromising its objectiveness by moving towards a pay-for-placement service. This change has the potential to hurt small retailers if they cannot afford to pay for placement.

–Max Goldberg, The Radical Clarity Group (courtesy RetailWire)

What burns me the most is without us, Google would have no business. They use our content to make money as they have no original content to contribute. And now they want to charge us a fee. Do no evil my arse.

–“Marshall,” webmasterworld.com

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Categories: Local, Online, Promotions, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

COUPONS: 6 REASONS TO LOSE THEM, 6 TO USE THEM

Local businesses, like national businesses, have a bipolar relationship with coupons. They love them for bringing new business, and hate them for bringing bad business. Coupons and similar discounts don’t always pay out. But planned thoughtfully, they can indeed drive higher sales and profits.

How do you know the right thing to do? Here are principles…a half dozen reasons to fold ’em and a half dozen to hold ’em. Let’s use a prototypical small business, say, a restaurant. Special thanks to Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, for help with the first list:

A half dozen reasons to ditch coupons: if you have these symptoms, discontinue use

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Categories: In-store, Local, Promotions, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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