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


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


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


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.


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


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


From time to time, marketing conferences take a step back to reflect on where we are in the evolution of personalization. Sometimes they add a twist, such as focusing on new data sources or location-based marketing, but the common thread is the  promise of relevance.

I recently participated on a panel discussing how far consumer marketers have progressed in unlocking the value of data to enable personalization.

Such discussions often begin with a short debate about what constitutes “loyalty.” Some will argue that incenting people to buy more isn’t enough—loyalty takes emotions as well Continue reading

Categories: Loyalty, Mobile, Promotions | Tags: , , | 2 Comments


What was General Mills thinking?

The marketer offered a $40 sampler kit and coupon book for $20 to consumers in Minneapolis/St. Paul and San Francisco. The offer included delivery of product to consumers’ homes.

Let’s look at that again: a 50% discount, plus up to 50% of the net revenue shared with Groupon, plus free shipping.

At first glance, this would be a nonstarter in most CPG marketing plans. But taking a second look at the idea, General Mills did 8 things right:

1. Being creative about “value.” Continue reading

Categories: Online, Pre-store, Promotions | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments


I’ve attended the Shopper Marketing Summit (formerly In-store Marketing Summit) for the last 3 years. Each year I find that shopper marketing is looking less like trade and more like media. Here are 5 observations:

1. Shopper marketing is growing. Shopper marketing is the fastest growing category of marketing, according to Ad Age figures quoted by Greg Murtaugh of Triad.

2. Stores are powerful reach vehicles. Pete LaFond of Walmart noted reaches 53MM uniques per month and Smart Network reaches 150MM per week. Together they reach 1/3 to 1/2 of US shoppers each week. Continue reading

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


How a big a hit can fuel rewards be? As gas prices approach $4 a gallon nationally, they can be a big hit for Kroger.

Kroger last week expanded its rewards program to allow shoppers to save more per gallon based on how much they spend in-store. Spending $100 in a month saves them $.10 a gallon (the minimum), while spending $1000 or more saves $1 a gallon (the maximum). 

Shoppers can save money at Kroger stations or Shell stations. This is a optical benefit for shoppers and a clever move by Kroger. Continue reading

Categories: Analytics, In-store, Loyalty, Promotions | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment


Consumers are looking for deals. They are clipping coupons at an increasing rate. So why are retailers not getting the same sales lift they once did?

“We do believe there’s a level of promotion fatigue out there,” Susan Viamari, editor of SymphonyIRI’s Times and Trends, told Ad Age.”Promotion has been very high in the industry over the past couple of years, even though we did see a moderation in the growth. CPG manufacturers need to evaluate everyday pricing strategies.”

Sales lift per promotion has fallen, and everyday pricing may be one of the reasons. But a bigger factor is untargeted, mass discounts.  Marketers need to better tailor their shopper messages, employ digital capabilities, and rely less on broad programs like TPRs. To offset promotion fatigue with smart tailoring we need to ask a few questions: Continue reading

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