Independent retailers such as coops, family grocers, and regionals have long been among the first to embrace innovations.

 At the National Grocers Association’s convention last month, where 50 retailers participated in a session about growing sales and margins through digital marketing, this trend shows signs of persisting.

Roche Bros, an 18-store chain in New England, has employed personalized website offers and search engine marketing. The incremental revenue can generate the equivalent of new store additions—without the overhead. Continue reading

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CPGMatters writes that Diageo is increasingly working with its retailer-customers on shopper marketing programs, especially to better understand how consumers shop the spirits category in the store.

“People are on autopilot when they’re shopping for, maybe, bread or other grocery staples,” said Shawn Fitzgerald, Diageo’s director of shopper planning. “But [spirits] are a more engagement-oriented shopper experience.”

“We had a tendency to focus on the big events, Fitzgerald added. “But the reality is that those occasions are the minority of the occasions. There are a lot of other, more frequent occasions that happen throughout the year.” Continue reading

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L.L.Bean is testing a new system that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) to determine when a shopper handles a specific product and then triggers a nearby video screen with information about the item, according to RFID Journal.

The article mentions how the deployment provides valuable input to make content on in-store screens more relevant.  But even more value comes from not just reacting, but predicting. This is what dynamic optimization can provide.

Any source of shopper behavior that makes in-store digital signage more relevant gets retailers past the broadcast mentality of conventional deployments and adds value to the shopper experience. Taking the next step, correlating the plays to purchases, provides further valuable feedback to management. Continue reading

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The Wall Street Journal reported on January 31 that mobile and online are the “be-all and end-all” to reach customers. Bob Phibbs, who recently researched the subject, calls that assessment exaggerated.

Mobile is evolving at a pace that makes desktop e-commerce look glacial. But does it deserve to be crowned the “wave of the future” as many claim? What’s the killer app?

Mobile succeeds for shoppers when it is more convenient than alternatives. Consider accessing product information, wayfinding and offers, and it often beats other platforms. It is more accessible than a PC, more self-aware than a map, and less likely to be forgotten than paper coupons. Continue reading

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) was recently top of mind when IBM’s Watson computer challenged Jeopardy’stop two human players–and won. Does this change the way retail should think about AI?

AI has advanced since the 60s with gains in processing speed, memory, and quantitative models. In retail, the quality of data has improved not only with NLP, but also with new data sources such as demographics and purchase history.

AI already drives in-store digital media. It also serves operations, merchandising, and marketing. Distributed intelligence powers inventory management. Analytic processing enables site selection, marketing mix modeling, and demand forecasting. Continue reading

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Wonder why you go to the supermarket for a quart of milk and leave with $30 worth of other stuff? It’s no accident. The secrets behind sneaky merchandising are found.” So read the teaser for CNBC’s airing of “Supermarkets Inc., Inside a $500 Billion Money Machine.”

But are supermarkets really better today at influencing consumers to buy products than in the past?

Look no further than the declining share of dollars they capture to see that traditional supermarkets as a class have ceded their market position. In 2001, Walmart became the largest food seller. More recently, other big-box, club, dollar, and convenience stores have dramatically grown their portion of food purchases. Continue reading

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Today, retailers and suppliers are operating self-service checkouts as well as kiosks and vending units to get an ever expanding list of products into the hands of consumers in a wide variety of locations.

“Consumers are more accepting of these automated technologies because they just want the stuff at a good price and really do not care if they get it from a piece of technology or a person,” Richard Feinberg, a retail analyst, told The Indianapolis Star.

There are a few factors that make it worth the while of service providers to add their categories to kiosks. These characteristics include: Continue reading

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