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Shopper Experience

Shopper Engagement delves into the latest trends and strategies retailers are using to cultivate long-term relationships with shoppers. Social media, mobile technology, in-store tablets and more are covered in this section. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Intensifies Grocery Price Wars

The landscape of the grocery industry is ripe for drastic and dramatic changes in the wake of Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market. With the e-Commerce giant making its monumental grocery push, top supermarkets will now be forced to duke it out for pricing superiority, supply chain efficiency and convenient delivery. Additionally, food delivery services such as Instacart will now face off against a fulfillment leader with extremely deep pockets. But despite many reports, the deal doesn’t represent a death knell for grocery, particularly its major players. Unlike categories such as apparel and department stores, grocery remains a relatively stable market since it doesn’t drive discretionary spending — consumers still have to buy food.

Blue Apron Seeks IPO To Raise More Than $500M

Blue Apron is seeking an IPO that could raise more than $500 million for the meal kit delivery service that, despite impressive growth, has yet to turn a profit. The move comes just days after Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market radically reshaped both the supermarket and food delivery landscapes. In its prospectus for the IPO, Blue Apron said it planned to price its shares between $15 and $17, which translates to a valuation for the company of up to $3.2 billion, according to the New York Times. In 2016, Blue Apron earned $795.4 million in revenue, more than doubling the previous year’s total. The company has continued to lose money — $54.9 million last year — due to major expenditures on marketing and growth capabilities.

Grappling With Mobile: Why Retail Needs A ‘Makeover’

Retailers always seem to be playing “catch-up” when it comes to dealing with the seismic changes that mobile technology continues to generate. Consumers are adapting far more easily than retailers to always-on, always-present devices disrupting the shopping journey. Siloed organizations, legacy technology and outdated thinking are holding many retail organizations back. Stephan Schambach, founder and CEO of NewStore, believes retail needs more than just tweaks to deal with these changes. Retailers need a makeover — which also is the title of Schambach’s new book: Makeover: How Mobile Flipped The Shopping Cart (And What To Do About It!).

Should Online Retailers Take Lessons From Cupid?

Swipe right to meet your algorithmically matched one true love? Online dating is an online marketer's success story, generating an estimated $2 billion in revenue each year. From Match.com to eHarmony, or Tinder, The League and Bumble, the market leaders and new app competitors make those erotic arrows fly based on their savvy use of technology — in particular, for a significant number, graph database technology to help members find the best matches.

Massivit Launches Life-Sized 3D Printer To Create Personalized Displays

Massivit 3D has launched a 3D printing solution designed to create personalized and localized window displays, point-of-purchase (POP) stands, store centerpieces and visual merchandising for retailers. The Massivit 1800 3D Printer can produce larger-than-life high-quality 3D pieces that are designed to enable retailers to differentiate their offer and enhance how they capture and maintain customers’ attention.

45% Of Retailers Will Utilize AI Within 3 Years

The popularity and know-it-all nature of artificial intelligence platforms such as Siri and Alexa have given rise to more sophisticated digital communications, and more retailers are noticing the potential of these capabilities. Within three years, up to 45% of retailers plan to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) — through chatbots or digital assistants — to enhance their customer experiences, according to a survey from Boston Retail Partners (BRP). While a majority, 55%, of retailers say their top priority is optimizing the customer experience, they also are prioritizing other shopper-related goals:

Amazon Gobbles Up Whole Foods For $13.7 Billion

Amazon hasn’t been shy about its desires to push into grocery — but it has just made a big and definitive move. The e-Commerce giant will acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion in an all-cash transaction valued at $42 per share, scooping up the brand’s 431 stores and logistics capabilities. The acquisition marks Amazon’s largest transaction ever, and it shows that the company’s grocery ambitions reach far beyond the AmazonFresh pickup locations presently being tested in Seattle.

Who Are Your Superconsumers? Why Retailers Need To Know

They walk among us. They look just like everyone else, but they have a secret identity. They are: SUPERCONSUMERS! Superconsumers are more than just good customers; they are passionately devoted to “their” brands. They are the sneaker-heads who own dozens of pairs of sneakers, or the bacon-loving consumers who call themselves “pork dorks.” They comprise approximately 10% of a brand’s customer base, and former Cambridge Group Principal Eddie Yoon believes retailers should proactively establish a dialogue with their Superconsumers and really get to know them. The insights they reveal will provide valuable clues about marketing, merchandising and product development — and they might even help turn some regular consumers into SUPERCONSUMERS!

Cross-Border Commerce, New Tech And Marketplace Competition Headline At IRCE17

The 2017 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (#IRCE17) provided a snippet of the direction today’s digitally savvy retailers are headed, whether it’s through the growth of cross-border commerce, an increased willingness to sell on Amazon, or the implementation of new technologies, such as machine learning, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

Hudson’s Bay Transformation Plan To Cut 2,000 Jobs

A transformation plan that will create dedicated leadership teams for Lord & Taylor in the U.S. and Hudson’s Bay in Canada also will cost 2,000 employees their jobs with the parent company, HBC. The new strategy is the result of a six-month operational review focused on identifying efficiencies in North…
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What Drove Mickey Drexler Out? Retail Experts Weigh In

Millard “Mickey” Drexler earned the nickname of “Merchant Prince” for his ability to market apparel that became a lifestyle look for millions of consumers. First at Gap in the 1990s and at J.Crew since 2003, Drexler was renowned for both anticipating and shaping customer tastes. But now the prince has been deposed (or has abdicated) following quarter after quarter of poor performance. Comparable sales at J.Crew fell 6.7% in 2016, following an 8.2% decrease the year before. The company, in which Drexler maintains a 10% ownership stake, has more than $2 billion in debt and less than $150 million in cash.

Macy’s Promotes Anwar To CTO Position

Yasir Anwar has been named Macy’s new Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, effective immediately. In his new role, Anwar will monitor all of Macy’s technology functions and align Macy’s technology efforts with its overall growth strategy. He will oversee teams responsible for Macy’s e-Commerce experience; enterprise shared services; infrastructure; field services; and functional IT support.

Tapping Consumer Passion Moments To Fuel Engagement

In a world of digitally savvy, multi-tasking consumers, it is becoming harder and harder for brands to capture consumer attention, let alone drive meaningful interactions. It’s not a surprise that many brands have resorted to using clickbait tactics, and while sensational headlines may draw consumers in, this strategy will do so at a very low cost — oftentimes resulting in little to no brand impact. In fact, a recent Harvard University study suggests the opposite to be true — finding that clickbait actually diminishes brand trust. With this in mind, marketers should focus less on serving clickbait, and more on keying into those prime moments when consumers are more receptive to meaningful interactions with brands. One of those moments is when consumers are engaged with their passions. Passions are often sparked during childhood, or emerge after a life-changing event like a health scare. They are core to who we are, and oftentimes, foundational to many of our closest relationships.
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