AMAZON.COM TWICE VALUED

A new survey by Millward Brown, Value-D, uses data collected from a million consumers in 30 countries to rank the brands delivering the highest value.

The winner in both the US and internationally? Amazon.com. By a longshot. Here are the lists:

U.S. Top 10 Value-D Brands

1. Amazon 157
2. Crest 136
3. Coca-Cola 134
4. Folgers 133 Continue reading

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A NEW LEADER OF THE CLUB

Retailer loyalty programs are fixture for many top chains. Many invest significant money and time in building robust data systems and complex analytic approaches. 

Safeway has decided to invest in an executive resource. It has promoted Mir Aamir to president, customer loyalty and digital technologies. He reports to CMO Diane Dietz.

Elevating responsibility for loyalty and digital marketing is the right move. The Achilles’ heels of many programs arise out of two areas: being too siloed and neglecting the shopper experience. Aamir has the opportunity to make an impact in both of these areas at Safeway. Here are a few ways.  Continue reading

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CONTINUING A TRADITION OF INNOVATION

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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IN SEARCH OF TRUST

The New York Timesrecently revealed that J.C. Penney, via SEO vendors, was found guilty of cheating Google results to “win” top rankings. Concurrently, Overstock.com was caught manipulating search rankings by soliciting universities to provide links to students, professors, and administrators.

In both cases, Google responded, driving down both J.C. Penney’s and Overstock’s rankings in its search results.

This is another installment in a saga that also includes BMW, Forbes, and many other properties. There are enormous incentives to subvert organic search. The opportunities in internet search are larger than past borderline practices within telemarketing, direct mail, and email. Continue reading

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DIGITAL CATALYSTS FOR CPG PROMOTIONS

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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THE SPIRIT OF PURCHASE HISTORY

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 WITH RFID TO BOOT

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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REWARDS DON’T COME IN ONE SIZE

The Hanifin Loyalty Blog suggests we’ve reached a tipping point with loyalty rewards.  Because there are so many loyalty programs that take too long to accumulate points, shoppers are devaluing them.

While this may be true with some retailers, such as those on the shopper’s margin, it is not true for all. Here are some reasons why:

1. There is a big difference between frequently and infrequently used retailers. For the average shopper, the utility of points owned at a bookstore pales compared to points earned at a grocery or big box retailer. The same is true for points earned on, say, American Express. Continue reading

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IS THE FUTURE OF MOBILE NEAR (FIELD)?

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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PERSONALIZATION VERSUS RELEVANCY

Nikki Baird of RSR Research points out the difference between retailers practicing personalization and relevancy. Personalization can be selfish when the motive is simply to sell more. Relevancy can be noble when the desire is to satisfy more.

This is a great observation and a common pitfall with personalization. How can retailers use relevance (or personalization) to present offers that truly help shoppers? 

Shoppers say they they most value offers on items they regularly buy, offers related to personal events, and recommendations on relevant new items, according to a recent IBM survey of 30K shoppers (Institute for Business Value 2011). Continue reading

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