Features - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints https://www.retailtouchpoints.com Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:14:10 -0400 RTP en-gb AT&T Opening 1,000 New Stores By Early 2020 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/at-t-opening-1-000-new-stores-by-early-2020 https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/at-t-opening-1-000-new-stores-by-early-2020 AT&T Opening 1,000 New Stores By Early 2020

AT&T has ambitious plans to expand its existing footprint of 5,300+ company- or dealer-owned stores with 1,000 new locations in the next 18 months. But they’ll come in all different shapes, sizes and formats: the telecom giant plans on opening traditional, pop-up and mobile stores.

The pop-up stores will be located in apartment buildings and other locations in dense urban environments, where the smaller, more flexible format is designed to reach customers faster. The telecom company can typically open these stores within 60 days of signing a lease, and plans to launch a total of 100 pop-ups this year, according to a company statement.

The company also is opening 150 more mobile stores — stores on wheels that AT&T can take on the road by the end of 2018. These are often seen at AT&T sponsored events, or when the company launches its AT&T Fiber service in new neighborhoods, but the stores are even more valuable in places hit by natural disasters where people need immediate assistance.

The mobile stores launch coincides with AT&T’s partnership with FirstNet, a government organization built to establish, operate and maintain an interoperable public safety broadband network.

To craft the physical expansion strategy, AT&T consulted across the retail industry, including banks and with Warby Parker, according to Tyler Jacobson, a company spokesman.

The strategy was based on the company’s analysis of customer traffic patterns, both at stores and online. Specifically, pop-ups will enable the company to test traffic, according to a report from Digiday. If after a few months the store isn’t generating enough activity, the company can quickly move it to another location. By contrast, if a pop-up shop is generating significant interest from customers, it can be kept open for a longer period.

AT&T also is building out the tech offerings in its physical stores, experimenting with self-serve kiosks and a soon-to-open cafe-style Seattle pilot store where customers can carry out most tasks using their phones.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Fri, 21 Sep 2018 15:32:58 -0400
Aldi Expands Grocery Delivery Service To All U.S. Locations https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/aldi-expands-grocery-delivery-service-to-all-u-s-locations https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/aldi-expands-grocery-delivery-service-to-all-u-s-locations Aldi Expands Grocery Delivery Service To All U.S. Locations

Aldi has launched grocery delivery at all U.S. stores through a partnership with Instacart. The service will cover 5,000 ZIP codes in 35 states by Thanksgiving, including San Diego, New York City, Miami, Raleigh, N.C. and Minneapolis.

The program had kicked off with pilots in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago that garnered positive responses from shoppers. Instacart can deliver fresh food from Aldi stores in as little as one hour.

Aldi has been expanding in 2018, investing more than $5.3 billion to remodel and expand its store count to 2,500 by the end of 2022. The retailer also expanded its selection of fresh, organic and easy-to-prepare options by 40% in August.

The growth comes at a time of intense competition among grocery retailers. Kroger has been making multiple investments in technology, while Walmart is working to extend grocery delivery to 40% of the country. Amazon also has entered the game through delivery at Whole Foods stores.

“Despite its well documented moves in grocery, this competitive landscape should not be viewed as Amazon versus everyone else,” said Jack O’Leary, Senior Analyst at PlanetRetail RNG in commentary sent to Retail TouchPoints. “The investments made by Walmart, Kroger, Target and others in curbside pickup and home delivery have also raised the competitive stakes for all U.S. grocery players. Shopper expectations for quick and convenient fulfillment options via click and collect and home delivery are being established, and most top retailers are investing in these capabilities accordingly.”

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Fri, 21 Sep 2018 13:43:23 -0400
Under Armour Cuts 400 Jobs As Part Of $200M Restructuring Plan https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/under-armour-cuts-400-jobs-as-part-of-200m-restructuring-plan https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/under-armour-cuts-400-jobs-as-part-of-200m-restructuring-plan Under Armour Cuts 400 Jobs As Part Of $200M Restructuring Plan

While Nike has been in the national spotlight for its ad campaigns and ensuing sales boost, one of its largest competitors, Under Armour, has been under pressure of another kind as it engineers a $200 million restructuring plan.

Under Armour unveiled the latest addition to this plan by announcing 400 job cuts, or approximately 3% of the company’s workforce. As part of the cuts, Under Armour will provide $10 million in severance payments. This is the second round of layoffs in the past year for the athletic brand, which cut nearly 280 jobs in 2017, including 140 at its Baltimore headquarters.

The cuts are expected to be completed by March 31, 2019 and represent the final component and update to the company's 2018 restructuring plan. In total, the company now expects to incur approximately $200 million to $220 million of pre-tax restructuring and related charges in 2018. The restructuring also has included contract and facility lease terminations as well as inventory control efforts.

With these job cuts in effect, Under Armour raised its estimates for operating income, but it anticipates operating losses will be on the deeper end. The company projected an operating loss of approximately $60 million for the full year of 2018, after previously forecasting losses in a range between $50 million and $60 million. Adjusted operating income could be slightly higher, between $140 million and $160 million, where the previous window had been between $130 million and $160 million.

In February, Under Armour said it expects “at least $75 million in savings annually beginning in 2019 and beyond” from restructuring plans implemented in 2017 and 2018.

The company is shifting to focus more on international expansion, rather than a U.S. market where its bigger rivals, Nike and Adidas, have asserted themselves as the top two players in athleticwear. Sales outside of North America accounted for 26% of the company’s total in Q2, and rose 28% year-over-year, compared with North American sales rising a mere 2%.

Both Nike and Adidas expect China to be a heavy growth market for sports apparel companies going forward. In particular, Under Armour believes that the Chinese market could hold the potential to become a billion-dollar plus market. In total, the APAC region represents 9.4% of the company’s total sales.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Fri, 21 Sep 2018 13:17:32 -0400
Overstock.com Adds Lease-To-Own Program For 3 Million Items https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/overstock-com-adds-lease-to-own-program-for-3-million-items https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/overstock-com-adds-lease-to-own-program-for-3-million-items Overstock.com Adds Lease-To-Own Program For 3 Million Items

Overstock.com has launched a lease-to-own purchase option through Progressive Leasing. The service allows customers to lease more than 3 million eligible products for up to 12 months.

Shoppers can apply for a Progressive lease at Overstock.com with no credit needed and an initial $49 payment. They will own the leased items after exercising a 90-day purchase option, an early lease buyout, or by completing 12 months of payments.

The lease-to-own program is the latest addition to a number of finance services provided by Overstock, including robo-advising investment, lending, credit cards and insurance.

Other retailers have worked with Progressive as well. Big Lots currently offers its own lease-to-own service, while Walmart ran a limited test in 2016. Walmart still offers layaway options for in-store purchases made between Aug. 30 and Dec. 10, but the program doesn’t extend to online orders.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Fri, 21 Sep 2018 11:23:14 -0400
10 Women-Led Startups Compete For Grants In European Event https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/10-women-led-startups-compete-for-grants-in-european-event https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/10-women-led-startups-compete-for-grants-in-european-event 10 Women-Led Startups Compete For Grants In European Event

Women Who Tech, which showcases and funds women-led ventures around the world, has selected 10 finalists for the Women Startup Challenge Europe. Hundreds of female-led startups from 35 countries competed for the chance to pitch to top investors and tech leaders. The final 10 will compete at an event co-hosted by the Office of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at Paris City Hall on Oct. 25, 2018.

A total of $60,000 in cash grants will be awarded to the winning startups, and a $25,000 cash grant will be awarded by Mozilla for the product that best incorporates privacy and transparency.

“We’ve seen a rise in the number of women-led startups across Europe, yet the latest data shows that only 10% of investor funding in the EU goes to women-led ventures,” said Allyson Kapin, Founder of Women Who Tech in a statement. “We’ve built a pipeline of over 2,000 women-led startups to provide investors with direct access to the best early-stage women-led startups.”

A 2015 report in Fortune revealed that woman-led companies drove 3X the returns compared to S&P 500 enterprises run predominantly by men. “We’ve got to invest in diverse perspectives and close this gap,” said Craig Newmark in a statement. Newmark is an advisor to Women Who Tech and the Founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies.

The Women Startup Challenge Europe Finalists are:

DEKO EKO (Poland) — An upcycling platform that works with designers globally to create well-designed consumer products out of carefully selected waste materials from the largest companies and brands.

Enterprise Bot (Switzerland) — Develops AI-powered chatbots to automate customer interactions and provide enterprises with a readily accessible digital agent to improve customer experience and create operational efficiency for companies.

INOREVIA (France) — Develops and commercializes a new generation of patented technologies that miniaturize lab instrument volumes for analysis. This technology drastically reduces costs, time and manipulation necessary to perform next-generation bioassays and precision medicine.

NOVA (Germany) — A Bluetooth headset that can be integrated into earrings with a built-in speaker and microphone.

ObjectBox (Germany) — A high-performance NoSQL, ACID-compliant on-device database for mobile and IoT.

Sampson Solutions, Ltd. (England) — Creating bio-based construction materials from sustainable sources using a closed-loop, carbon neutral manufacturing process.

SonicJobs (England) — A virtual recruiter for blue-collar recruitment that uses chatbots combined with occupational psychology and AI, which screen and select the right job candidates in real time.

TRIK (England) — A Google map for structural inspection that turns photos from drones into digital 3D models. Users can make comments, take measurements, and compare changes directly from the time-lapse 3D models.

Vitrue Health (England) — A system that sits in the background of clinical assessments, autonomously measuring motor function metrics, freeing clinicians to focus on more complex patient interactions, saving millions in health care costs.

Vouchery.io (Germany) — A predictive coupon, discount, and loyalty automation platform that optimizes promotional strategy for customer engagement while preventing coupon fraud.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Adam Blair) News Briefs Fri, 21 Sep 2018 10:07:38 -0400
The Death Of Retail Or A Retail Renaissance — Which Is It? https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/the-death-of-retail-or-a-retail-renaissance-which-is-it https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/executive-viewpoints/the-death-of-retail-or-a-retail-renaissance-which-is-it

0aaFunda Denizhan Valtech SwedenBoth property companies and retailers are reporting a crisis and the death of retail. Stores are being shut down or shrinking their footprints, and the traditional retail format with merchandise lined up on shelves is a dying breed.

Yet at the same time there is a renaissance going on in retail, and we are seeing examples of brands and retailers that are able to reinvent their businesses and adapt to a new market and new consumer behaviors — allowing them to increase customer loyalty in the bargain.

So what are the success factors driving this? And what will the stores that succeed in reinventing themselves in a world where the digital is merging with the physical look like?

From Product Display To Experiential Retail

In the United States and China — the main markets we monitored — it is clear that the retail sector is undergoing a transformation. Much of the transaction volume is moving online, where 80% of purchases are initiated, but retail spaces are also undergoing transformation in order to attract consumers back to brick-and-mortar shopping. The fact is that 64% of major retail purchases are still made in-store, and that the value of each store visit has tripled over the last five years. The stores that succeed are the ones that shift away from traditional product display by reimagining themselves as experiential arenas and places of inspiration that enhance customer loyalty, where the personal touch is paramount.

  • Runner Camp, a shoe store in Shanghai, has transformed its store to an experiential arena that includes an indoor track and a gym where customers can exercise and try on different shoes. Customers can also get real-time data as they run. Once the customer has decided on a pair of shoes, the purchase is made online using an iPad, and the shoes are delivered home to the customer.
  • Another of our absolute favorites is American Girl, a brand that sells dolls. Entering the American Girl store is like walking into storybook world where you can follow the life of a doll, share her story, and develop and learn with your doll. Children come here with their dolls to have a snack, to sit down with attentive store staff who braid their dolls' hair, or to buy a book and read about investing. Walking into an American Girl store is a powerful feeling. It's not a toy store, but a world of a thousand possibilities where you can spend hours with your doll.

By being relevant, personal and context-specific, experiential stores not only manage to bring customers to the store, but to strengthen their bond with the brand. If you have experienced Runner Camp or American Girl, everything else pales in comparison.

Experiences Both Inside And Outside The Store

The experience of the brand and its products is not only important in the store, but outside of it too. Brands and retailers can get a step ahead of the competition by creating experiences where the products can be used in real life.

  • Cotopaxi, a company that sells backpacks, is a good example. They focus on the context in which their backpacks are used, and get their customers involved by hosting a 24-hour adventure race called the Questival.
  • Toyota’s Drive to Go is a car rental concept that focuses on the destination rather than the car itself when customers rent cars, offering them coolers, binoculars and picnic chairs with the rental. The rental location combines car rental with a cozy café where customers can relax and recharge before their trip.
  • IKEA Place is an example of how augmented reality is used to move physical retail right into the consumer's home. All of a sudden the piece of furniture is right in the middle of your living room, with exactly the right proportions and the right color, giving you a completely different sense of what it will feel like in your home compared to what you get from looking in the IKEA catalog or online.
  • Mio is another example of a store personified in the form of a robot that goes to where the consumer is. Consumers can use an app to order products and have them delivered to wherever they happen to be.
  • The Swedish start-up Wheely has also developed a self-driving store, Moby, which both replenishes its own stock and drives itself out to the customer to deliver orders. The customer uses a mobile app to open the store and is greeted by a hologram.

Product Offerings Are Being Developed In New Channels And Contexts

If in the past retail was about making a transaction — about buying merchandise in a store — these days it is more about feelings, entertainment and interactions. Technology and data are used to draw learnings from customer behaviors, making it possible to provide them with services and products that are as personalized as possible. The traditional retail environment is giving way to new contexts, and value is being created for consumers at moments that did not exist before.

A few examples of companies that have moved their business into new contexts include General Motors, Lufthansa/Rewe, Volition and Castorama.

Participatory Retail And Consumer-To-Business

Participatory retail, the practice of bringing customers closer to the brand and making use of them in product development, is becoming more and more common. The customers are no longer passive consumers, but are both able to and expect to have a hand in the development of the products.

  • Volition is a company that has benefited from this behavior, and it gets its customers involved in its product development process. Customers can submit proposals for new ideas and concepts. The ideas that garner the most votes are implemented by the company, and the customer gets to share in the sales proceeds generated by his or her idea.

Other examples of companies where customers are highly involved in the product development process are Rent The Runway and B8ta, which both harness technology and data collection in order to obtain continuous customer feedback (Consumer-to-Business, C2B) so that they can improve their services and products.


Funda Denizhan works as a consultant manager and business developer at Valtech's Commerce unit, focusing on helping customers spread their offers across all channels, where digital solutions increasingly get into the physical space.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Funda Denizhan, Valtech Sweden) Executive ViewPoints Fri, 21 Sep 2018 09:16:24 -0400
Yesway Drives 44% Redemption Rate Among Rewards Members Who Visit C-Stores https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-success-stories/yesway-drives-44-redemption-rate-among-rewards-members-who-visit-c-stores https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-success-stories/yesway-drives-44-redemption-rate-among-rewards-members-who-visit-c-stores

0aaayeswayThe 150-store convenience retailer Yesway has ambitious plans to acquire, improve and rebrand as many as 500 additional stores over the next few years. Even before this expansion occurs, however, the retailer is solidifying its business with an intense focus on customer loyalty.

Yesway launched Yesway Rewards on the Paytronix platform in June 2017. Initially introduced at 37 stores, the loyalty program soon became an integral part of the brand's expansion. It’s now available to customers at more than 100 locations.

With the program, the convenience store has motivated:

  • 45.2% of rewards members who pump gas at a Yesway location to go into the store;
  • 44% of members who made one visit to redeem a reward in a 60-day period; and
  • 40% of members to download the Yesway mobile app.

“Both Yesway and Paytronix share the same loyalty philosophy,” said Darrin Samaha, VP and Brand Manager at Yesway in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Lead with the store first and build loyalty around that — and then go out to the pump. That’s because we’ve already built a solid foundation of things that will entice both customers currently coming to the store, and those who may want to come into the store, but who haven’t yet seen anything that moved the needle for them to enter.”

Promotions With Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Frito Lay Draw Shoppers From Pump To Store

Yesway leverages its loyalty program to run joint promotions with numerous vendors, including Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Frito Lay and Altria among other major supplier partners, who often will fund the rewards.

Coca-Cola, for example, recently provided loyalty customers with an extra summer beverage reward — purchase any six 20-ounce Coke products and get a seventh for free. Red Bull offered a “three cents off per gallon” promotion on gas fill-up with the purchase of two 16-oz. cans — bringing guests into the store and driving new registrations.

“We took the insights from our loyalty customers and we introduced rewards for these types of products, and we see that people are redeeming these rewards,” Samaha said. “So we wanted to build other promotions around them that tie in fuel, to drive more visits and see if we could move the needle incrementally. We looked at the things we sell a lot of — tobacco is big for us, as well as the energy category and packaged beverages. Our category managers did a nice job of going to those suppliers and saying that we have a platform that really measures the success of these campaigns.”

For example, upon partnering with Altria, Yesway introduced a tobacco offer that realized a 52% take rate — the percentage of members that took action on the offer — in its first program phase. Yesway plans on launching similar promotions for its own private-label products this fall.

With the success of the program, Paytronix granted Yesway the 2018 Paytronix Loyaltee Award for Best Convenience Store Loyalty Launch.

Incentive-Driven Store Associates Drive Rewards Program Adoption

To maintain excitement about the program and continue to drive customer adoption, Yesway introduced an Employee Incentive Program featuring monthly contests between stores in February 2018. Associates engaged in friendly competition against each other, measured in terms of new registrations and adoption percentage. The percentage continues to climb each month; it was just shy of 19% as of August. 

“One advantage that we have in our market is that more often than not, our store associates and our managers know their customers by first name,” Samaha said. “That’s a terrific advantage for us. When we first launched the program, more associates would know customers coming in, and whether or not they had a rewards card or downloaded the app. The selling point is a bit more natural for them that way, I believe. We actually gave our associates a month-long test period — a soft launch — to familiarize themselves with the program and make it easier to offer to customers.”

Yesway has more in store for its customer loyalty roadmap in 2019. The convenience retailer is testing a full-function mobile wallet within the Yesway app as well as digital couponing capabilities, and already has introduced a private debit program called Yespay into 10 stores. The Yespay program is offered as an upgrade within the Paytronix loyalty program, all from the same single sign-on.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) Retail Success Stories Fri, 21 Sep 2018 09:07:54 -0400
Gap Enters Men’s Athleticwear Category With Hill City Launch https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/gap-enters-men-s-athleticwear-category-with-hill-city-launch https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/gap-enters-men-s-athleticwear-category-with-hill-city-launch Gap Enters Men’s Athleticwear Category With Hill City Launch

Gap now has a men’s counterpart for its Athleta women’s athleticwear brand, with the unveiling of its newest division, Hill City. The brand will primarily sell clothes made of technical fabrics that are meant for workouts and everyday dressing.

Hill City is slated to launch in mid-October, available exclusively at hillcity.com, and pieces from the brand also will be displayed at 50 select Athleta locations. Shoppers will be able to buy Hill City products within these stores only via a kiosk taking online orders.

Although there are no present plans for standalone Hill City stores, the company wouldn't rule out opening them in the future.

Since Athleta already has a well-developed supply chain for manufacturing workout clothes, Gap may have an easier path to growth with Hill City than it would with a different apparel category. Gap doesn’t reveal financial numbers for Athleta, which it bought in 2008, but the company anticipates the brand will hit the $1 billion sales milestone within a few years.

Athleta, along with Old Navy, have been high points for Gap Inc., particularly compared to the namesake and Banana Republic brands that have weighed the company down in recent years. Across all brands, Gap’s comparable sales have declined for 16 of the last 18 quarters.

Yet Athleta has been able to capitalize on a continually growing athleisure market by providing a cheaper price point than chief competitor lululemon athletica. In 2017, activewear apparel sales increased approximately 2% to $48 billion, representing roughly 22% of total apparel industry sales, according to NPD Group. A primary driver of that growth was greater sales of women's athleisure merchandise, NPD said.

It’s worth noting that lululemon revealed that men’s items are now 22% of the retailer’s sales. Last quarter, sales of lululemon men’s pants rose 30%. With that in mind, Gap sees a growing market where it can take advantage. In fact, Gap Inc. made the move to launch Hill City upon hearing from Athleta customers looking for men’s items, according to CEO Art Peck.

“Active is a key growth area for Gap Inc. and Hill City is our response to consistent feedback from customers looking for a premium men’s product that combines highly technical fabrications, performance and style,” said Peck in a statement. “Hill City brings a new perspective to men’s apparel that is complementary to our iconic portfolio of brands and leverages the benefits of our uniquely scalable operating platform — from our supply chain, to e-Commerce to customer relationships and data.”

Noah Palmer, who most recently served as the head of Gap's Old Navy men's business, is overseeing the Hill City launch, serving as its General Manager.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Thu, 20 Sep 2018 17:39:36 -0400
Walmart Installs Four Senior Execs At Flipkart https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/walmart-installs-four-senior-execs-at-flipkart https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/retail-movers-and-shakers/walmart-installs-four-senior-execs-at-flipkart Walmart Installs Four Senior Execs At Flipkart

Just one month after finalizing its acquisition of a majority stake in Flipkart, Walmart is putting four of its top executives into key positions at the Indian e-Commerce marketplace, according to the Economic Times.

Emily McNeal, head of Walmart mergers and acquisitions, will join the Flipkart Group as SVP and Group CFO, according to an email sent to Flipkart employees by CEO Binny Bansal. Other Walmart executives moving to Flipkart are:

• Daniel De La Garza, coming on board as VP and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer;
• Grant Coad as General Counsel; and
• Dawn Ptak as VP and Group Controller.

The executives will make the transfer by October, according to the email. McNeal, De La Garza and Coad will report to Bansal, but Ptak will report to McNeal, whose focus areas will be group strategy, M&A, IPO preparation, accounting and controls.

All four executives have extensive international experience: De La Garza is currently Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer for Walmart in Central America, while Coad has been handling regulatory compliance for Walmart Canada. Ptak has been with Walmart China for more than seven years. McNeal was involved in the Flipkart acquisition discussions along with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

Walmart paid approximately $16 billion for its roughly 77% stake in Flipkart in May 2018. Other shareholders include Bansal, Tencent, Tiger Global and Microsoft Corp.

Indian retail is turning into a battle of the behemoths. Earlier this week, Amazon bought the Indian supermarket chain More for $580.35 million, and the e-Commerce giant launched a Hindi version of its mobile web site and app in early September.

For its part, Walmart is shedding other international assets, presumably to focus more attention and resources on India. In May 2018 Walmart announced it was selling the UK supermarket chain Asda to Sainsbury’s. In June, Walmart sold a majority stake in its Brazil operations to Advent International, although the retailer retains a 20% stake in the subsidiary.

feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Adam Blair) Retail Movers & Shakers Thu, 20 Sep 2018 13:07:02 -0400
Search Becomes Latest Back-To-School Battleground https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/search-becomes-latest-back-to-school-battleground https://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/news-briefs/search-becomes-latest-back-to-school-battleground Search Becomes Latest Back-To-School Battleground

Marketing during the back-to-school season is about more than maximizing exposure through traditional channels; search has become an increasingly important platform. Retailers are competing on multiple back-to-school search terms, encompassing brands, product categories and sales, according to Adthena.

“In this particular instance there’s a lot of hijacking starting to happen,” said Ashley Fletcher, VP of Marketing at Adthena in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “If there’s a recognized brand, then other advertisers will try to jump on that bandwagon too. If you have a compelling product and offer, there’s a good chance you can redirect that user to your brand.”

Adthena conducted a study in which it tracked the market share of several search terms, which was defined as the frequency with which each brand appeared when the term was searched. The research found that Target and Office Depot both tried to benefit from Staples’ popularity by bidding on the search term “Staples back to school sale” from Aug. 2 through 19:

  • Office Depot managed to reach a high of 58% market share on the term on Aug. 9;
  • Target hit a high of 40% market share on Aug. 11; and
  • Walmart was also a target: Office Depot bid on the “Walmart back to school sale” term from Aug. 8 to Aug. 17, reaching between 3% and 15% market share.

Small, Agile Retailers Hold The Advantage With Generic Search Terms

Retailers also benefited by climbing the ranks for more generic queries, like “back to school clothes.” Young retailers such as Romwe, SheIn and zulily all gained significant market share with the term, helping them compete against established brands like JCPenney and Sears:

  • Romwe reached 77% market share on Aug. 10, the highest of any of the competitors;
  • zulilly topped out at 55% on Aug. 18;
  • While it never hit a massive share, SheIn maintained at least 22% throughout the studied period;
  • JCPenney hit 70% market share on Aug. 13, but didn’t top 45% otherwise; and
  • Sears didn’t bid on the term until Aug. 8, but hit a high of 70% market share on Aug. 9, then dropped significantly and hit a low of 17% on Aug. 16.

“It all comes down to mastering seasonality,” said Fletcher. “In the case of back-to-school, these smaller retailers are able to react very quickly, and we saw from our data that they gained an advantage pretty quickly. With larger organizations it’s quite hard to mobilize your search team and keep the focus on these seasonal trends.”

The agility advantage for smaller retailers also was seen in the results for the search term “back to school sale.” JCPenney, Ebates and Romwe all fought for the top spot from Aug. 2 to 19:

  • Romwe saw the most consistent rise in market share, growing from 22% on Aug. 2 to 65% on Aug. 18;
  • Ebates started at 3% on Aug. 2 to and hit 53% on Aug. 12, but fell to 33% on Aug. 14 before pulling out of the competition; and
  • JCPenney was the most consistent performer, beginning with 38% market share Aug. 2 and reaching a high of 55% Aug. 19.
feed@retailtouchpoints.com (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Thu, 20 Sep 2018 12:47:34 -0400