Retail TouchPoints - Your Source For The Latest Retail News And Trends - Retail TouchPoints - Retail TouchPoints Tue, 16 Oct 2018 00:08:06 -0400 RTP en-gb Mi9 Retail Puts MyWebGrocer In Shopping Cart Mi9 Retail Puts MyWebGrocer In Shopping Cart

Mi9 Retail will purchase MyWebGrocer (MWG), a software and digital media company serving the grocery and CPG industries. Details of the acquisition have not been reported.

The MWG solution adds new e-Commerce, order management and click-and-collect functionalities to Mi9’s offerings, which include demand management, price and promotions management and retail analytics solutions.

“Combining MWG with Mi9 will increase our ability to serve our customers with innovative technology, professional services and industry expertise,” said Barry Clogan, President of Retail Solutions at MWG in a statement. “Our technology and media businesses complement the Mi9 platform and will operate more efficiently with the scale and business process expertise that Mi9 has put in place.”

MWG’s existing sponsor, private equity firm HGGC, will join General Atlantic and Respida as investors in Mi9.

“This investment from HGGC and the combination with MWG enables Mi9 to accelerate deployment of our technology to new markets in retail,” said Neil Moses, CEO of Mi9 Retail in a statement.

This is the second 2018 acquisition for Mi9; the company purchased the demand management solutions platform JustEnough Software in January.

]]> (Adam Blair) Mergers & Acquisitions Mon, 15 Oct 2018 17:56:35 -0400
Walmart Buys Bare Necessities In Latest Digital Acquisition Walmart Buys Bare Necessities In Latest Digital Acquisition

Just a few weeksafter Walmart acquired Eloquii, a plus-sized fashion retailer, the retail giant has reeled in its next digitally native brand. Walmart acquired Bare Necessities, an e-Commerce intimates and sleepwear retailer, for an undisclosed sum.

Walmart has prioritized fashion as a core element of its e-Commerce experience, ever since overhauling in May and introducing the Lord & Taylor flagship e-Commerce site. These changes, as well as the company’s continued spree of acquisitions, starting with in 2016, are designed to give Walmart access to younger Millennial customers who do not normally shop on its web site. The company also partnered with comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to launch a women's fashion line in August.

“As we began conversations with [the Walmart] team, we realized how much we had in common around customer commitment, and that we could do even more if we combine our expertise in intimates with Walmart’s deep resources, scale and relationships,” Brooke Glassberg, Editor-in-Chief of the Bare Necessities blog Bare It All, wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition. 

The moves come at a time when Walmart is in an increasingly fierce head-to-head battle with Amazon in apparel. While Walmart had 8.6% of the U.S. apparel market in 2017, that was just slightly above Amazon’s 7.9%, according to Morgan Stanley. Amazon is expected to overtake Walmart as the apparel market leader, the report said.

Noah Wrubel, CEO and Co-Founder of Bare Necessities, will lead the intimates category for both and while also continuing to run Bare Necessities. will continue to operate as a standalone site, but the Walmart e-Commerce team is working to integrate the retailer’s assortment onto and The online retailer currently offers more than 100,000 SKUs of bras, swimwear, shapewear and sleepwear from more than 160 brands. 

For a preview of what a potential conversion onto might look like, look to Moosejaw’s Premium Outdoor Store, which debuted in August. Moosejaw curated the entire product line of the store,marking the first time Walmart enabled one of its recently acquired specialty retailers to curate a store on The online store includes existing Moosejaw-branded products, but there are also plans to broaden the assortment over time, to potentially include products from other specialty outdoor retailers and brands.

Walmart’s overall acquisition strategy consists of two complementary parts, according to a blog post from Denise Incandela, Head of Fashion at Walmart U.S. eCommerce:

  1. Acquiring companies that strengthen and by enhancing both their category expertise and assortment (e.g., Hayneedle, and Moosejaw); and
  2. Acquiring digital brands that are unique and differentiated, offering products and experiences “you can't find anywhere else” (e.g., Bonobos, Modcloth and Eloquii).

Bare Necessities fits into the first category, according to Incandela.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Mergers & Acquisitions Mon, 15 Oct 2018 17:21:20 -0400
Allbirds Raises $50 Million, Eyeing UK, Asia Expansion Allbirds Raises $50 Million, Eyeing UK, Asia Expansion

Allbirds, the footwear retailer known best for selling wool sneakers, has raised $50 million in funding led by T. Rowe Price. With the funding, Allbirds is now valued of $1.4 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Tiger Global and Fidelity Investments also participated in the round.

The digital native, with flagship stores in San Francisco and New York City, already has plans to open eight more stores in the U.S. and is opening its first London store next week. The funding will assist the retailer in expanding both its brick-and-mortar store presence and its international shipping capabilities. Allbirds reportedly is seeking to open a store in Asia as well, although there has been no indication where it would be built. The company currently ships to locations across the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and plans to ship throughout the UK in 2019.

The three-year-old startup, founded by Joey Zwillinger and Tim Brown, has raised $77.5 million to date, including a $17.5 million Series B last year.

Allbirds has developed several different sustainable materials — wool, eucalyptus and sugar-based foam — for its footwear line, which includes sneakers and flip-flops.

“Climate change is the problem of our generation and the private sector has a responsibility to combat it,” said Zwillinger in a statement.This injection of capital will help us bring our sustainable products to more people around the globe, demonstrating that comfort, design and sustainability don’t have to live exclusive of each other.”

Investors tied up roughly $170 million in an assortment of shoe-related startups from Jan 2017 to June 2018, according to Crunchbase. Top funding recipients include online used sneaker marketplace GOAT, which procured a $60 million funding round, and e-Commerce “stock market” StockX, which raised $44 million in September 2018.

The recent footwear funding activity comes as the industry continues its healthy growth. The global footwear market reached $246 billion in 2017, with projected annual growth rates of approximately 4.5% between 2017 and 2023, according to Zion Market Research.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) Financial News Mon, 15 Oct 2018 12:06:19 -0400
Retailers Harness Weather Predictions To Improve Operations Retailers Harness Weather Predictions To Improve Operations

IBM subsidiary The Weather Company is working with retailers to provide both real-time weather information and predictive weather analytics solutions. The solution helps retailers understand how weather is going to impact shipments coming into warehouses, when products might arrive at stores and the potential impact on in-store traffic.

Unpredictable winter weather can have a particularly large impact on traffic during the holiday season. Retailers need to look at both upcoming weather forecasts and past data to predict shopper patterns, a necessary step in maximizing sales during the busiest time of the year.

“In the era of big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence, there is no shortage of data that retailers should use to predict and maintain proper staffing levels,” said Charlie DeWitt, VP of Business Development for Kronos in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “There’s no better indicator than constantly evaluating current and historic sales and schedule accuracy and effectiveness data. Beyond that, retailers should take third-party data like weather, traffic, holidays and special events into account.”

Weather Data Adds A Personal Touch

Real-time promotions also can benefit from weather data. One retailer taking advantage of this potential is SOREL, a premium footwear retailer, which is harnessing digital signage to enhance sales of its fall collection in the UK, according to Digital Signage Connection.

The campaign, which runs from Oct. 8 to Oct. 22, uses real-time weather data to personalize the signage at multiple locations in real time. The advertised footwear on each sign changes with the weather, always tempting shoppers with an item that is appropriate for the current conditions.

Email promotions also can benefit from the addition of local weather-related content, adding a human touch that makes the outreach seem more conversational. Retailers can reference each recipient’s local weather conditions during the campaign to make each message feel personal.

However, retailers should dig through the data to make sure their weather-based promotions are having the desired effect. Dunkin’ Brands sent inclement weather-based promotions through its mobile app, but the results weren’t as profitable as the retailer had hoped.

“We did an email survey to determine what people’s redemption motivations were,” said Paul Murray, Director of Digital Experience, Dunkin’ Brands during a panel at RIC 2018. “The insight we discovered is that the people we were promoting to were going out in the storm anyway. These were plow drivers and first responders, and sometimes a Dunkin’ Donuts was the only place that was open. For others, they were never going to come to a store, because the bad weather broke their usual patterns.”

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Mon, 15 Oct 2018 11:55:29 -0400
Sears Files For Bankruptcy After Failing To Adapt To Retail’s Transformation Sears Files For Bankruptcy After Failing To Adapt To Retail’s Transformation

The long and seemingly inevitable road to bankruptcy has finally come to an end for Sears. The 132-year-old retailer, one of the most iconic brand names of the 20th century, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize debt and will close and liquidate 142 unprofitable stores by year-end.

The retailer intends to keep profitable Sears and Kmart stores open, and its online and mobile platforms will operate as usual. Additionally, the company expects its loyalty programs, including the Shop Your Way membership program, and the Sears and private label credit card rewards program, to continue as normal.

As of the filing, approximately 700 Sears and Kmart stores remained open and the company employed 68,000 workers. That's down from 1,000 stores with 89,000 employees that it had as recently as February 2018, and significantly less than the more than 5,000 Sears and Kmart locations across the U.S. in 2012.

Sears has been on a massive downward spiral for years, with many retail analysts believing the ship had long sailed for any potential recovery efforts to succeed. While the company crafted an identity based on being “America’s retailer” decades ago, it wasn’t able to evolve along with shopper preferences as more companies shifted their focus online and built out more differentiated product offerings and services. Even after re-focusing on its e-Commerce site, Sears continued to neglect the stores, leading to a very outdated customer experience.

“Everybody else has done this — Target just announced it would invest $7 billion into remodeling their stores,” said Lee Peterson, Executive VP of Brand, Strategy and Design at WD Partners told Retail TouchPoints in early 2018. “That’s the route. Sears never did that. They have much older stores, much more complicated floor plans, older footprints and older neighborhoods. To not touch those stores was mistake #1. If they would have thought about it and not been carried away with the e-Commerce moment, Sears should have taken any funding that they had to fix the stores.”

The Cost Of Not Keeping Up

The failure to adapt has been costly: Sears hasn’t turned a profit since 2010, losing a combined $11 billion cumulatively since 2011. Annual sales have dropped nearly 60% in during that same time frame, to $16.7 billion.

Sears Holdings listed $6.9 billion in assets and $11.3 billion in liabilities in documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York.The bankruptcy filing was sparked by a standoff between CEO Eddie Lampert (the company’s biggest shareholder and lender) and a special board committee, over a rescue plan proposed by Lampert.

Last week, reports surfaced that the retailer hired advisers to prepare the bankruptcy filing and contacted banks to arrange the debtor-in-possession financing necessary to keep the company afloat during the filing. Sears had a $134 million debt payment due Oct. 15 that it previously reported it would not be able to cover.

In total, Sears Holdings secured commitments for $300 million in debtor-in-possession financing from its lenders, and is presently negotiating to secure an additional $300 million from with ESL Investments, Lampert’s hedge fund. Combined, Lampert and ESL Investments own nearly 50% of Sears’ shares and are its biggest creditor. The retailer owes Lampert and the fund approximately $2.5 billion.

Sears Holdings expects to market and sell certain of the company's assets over the coming months, according to a company statement. But the company did not unveil which of the assets it intends to sell off. The most recent proposal from Lampert included selling off $1.54 billion in real estate and $1.75 billion in additional assets, such as the Kenmore brand and its home services branch.

Sears has been shedding its real estate for years as one way to raise cash, bringing Lampert significant scrutiny for stripping the company of some its most valuable assets. In 2014, Sears spun off Lands’ End into its own public company. In 2015, it spun off more than 235 stores to form a real estate investment trust, Seritage Growth Properties and convert the stores into more profitable uses such as offices and restaurants. And in another desperate attempt to raise funds, Sears sold the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million.

In cases where ESL Investments buys the asset off Sears, such as the proposed Kenmore deal, Lampert would still own the property and make money on it despite the retailer’s continued financial difficulties. 

Lampert Out As CEO, But Remains Chairman

Under the bankruptcy plan, Lampert’s executive role will be replaced by a three-person committee, though he will remain as Chairman of the Board. The Sears board has created an Office of the CEO, which will be responsible for managing the company's day-to-day operations during this process. The Office of the CEO will include:

  • Robert A. Riecker, Chief Financial Officer; 
  • Leena Munjal, Chief Digital Officer, Customer Experience and Integrated Retail; and 
  • Gregory Ladley, President of Apparel and Footwear.  

Mohsin Meghji, a managing director of the M-III Partners corporate advisory firm, was appointed Chief Restructuring Officer.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Mon, 15 Oct 2018 09:58:36 -0400
More Than 70% Of Global Shoppers Will Shop On Black Friday More Than 70% Of Global Shoppers Will Shop On Black Friday

More than one fifth (22%) of U.S. consumers are planning to spend at least $500 on Black Friday, and 16% expect to lay out $1,000 or more. These shoppers will be in search of steep discounts and deals: 54% of consumers in four countries identify this as their number-one reason for Black Friday shopping, followed by the opportunity to encounter unique “one off” promotions.

Black Friday’s spot as a top holiday shopping day has become a global phenomenon, with more than 70% of consumers in four countries aware of the day and planning to take part, according to research from Periscope By McKinsey. The Black Friday 2018 Shopping Report: Consumers Are Eager, More Digital, And Willing To Spend, which surveyed consumers in the U.S., Canada, the UK and Germany, reveals how participation in Black Friday shopping has increased in recent years:

54% of UK consumers participated in Black Friday in 2017, up from just 19% in 2015;

• In Germany, Black Friday participation increased to 43% in 2017 from 9% in 2015; and

• In Canada, participation increased to 48.5% from 26%, and 81% of Canadian consumers said they plan to shop or browse on Black Friday 2018.

For all the surveyed regions, 77% of consumers said they plan to shop or browse, and to make a purchase if the price is right. And while the majority of consumers in all four countries said their budgets were basically unchanged from 2017, 18% of consumers in the U.S. and Germany plan to spend more this year than last year.

“Black Friday has become an established feature of the retail calendar on both sides of the Atlantic — one that has dramatically changed the way people shop in the run-up to Christmas,” said Brian Elliott, Founder, Senior Advisor And Head of Innovation at Periscope By McKinsey in a statement. “In return, consumers have changed the core DNA of the event from a traditional, in-store base to a global and digital one. This year, consumers are clearly eager, ready and willing to participate and shop this Black Friday via multiple channels.”

Retailers Must Appeal To Deal-Seeking Shoppers

A key opportunity for retailers is the large number of consumers who do very little pre-planning about where they will shop, or what they will buy, on Black Friday: 44% of U.S. shoppers have done no pre-planning, as well as 48% of UK consumers and 49% of Canadians. These shoppers are looking for hot deals and exciting products, so retailers that make tempting offers with strong incentives can capture these customers’ attention.

“Retailers and brands looking to extract maximum value from this ‘golden’ opportunity should ensure they start early to stimulate the wants and needs of their customers,” said Elliott. “They need to activate their data with advanced analytics systems for targeted and personal campaigns the closer the event comes to attract high numbers of shoppers — and secure big basket orders.”

Black Friday Shopping Is An Omnichannel Event

Despite the recent growth of digital commerce, particularly via mobile devices, a significant portion of consumers plan to shop both in stores and online on Black Friday:

• U.S.: 48%
• Canada: 39%
• UK: 30%
• Germany: 32%

The continued appeal of brick-and-mortar stores is good news for omnichannel retailers, since Amazon is, by a wide margin, the initial destination for most online shoppers in all four countries:

• U.S.: 81%
• Canada: 77%
• UK: 83%
• Germany: 87%

The number two and three destinations were:

• U.S.: Walmart (61%) and Target (33%)
• Canada: Walmart (41%) and Best Buy (39%)
• UK: eBay (42%) and Tesco (22%)
• Germany: eBay (46%) and Mediamarkt (37%)

“Today’s sophisticated shoppers are leveraging every channel available to explore their Black Friday options — whether that’s researching deals, seeking out inspirations for gifts or experiencing the excitement of the shopping event for real — with digital channels becoming increasingly dominant,” said Elliott. “This makes it vitally important that retailers and brands ensure they catch their target audiences in the right channels — and provide a seamless experience as shoppers move from one channel to another to complete their purchasing journeys.”

The survey research was conducted online in September 2018, targeting consumers aged 18 to 69 and equally weighted between male and female respondents in all four countries.

]]> (Adam Blair) Trend Watch Mon, 15 Oct 2018 09:44:25 -0400
Managing The Details Can Help Differentiate The In-Store Fulfillment Experience

0aaaDave Bruno Aptos smallOmnichannel fulfillment, and specifically in-store fulfillment, has become table stakes for retailers of all shapes and sizes. But with this tactic officially being commoditized, retailers must do more to differentiate throughout the entire experience.

Retail is rich with thoughtful resources on this topic, each analyzing, evaluating and opining on the industry’s latest trends, tactics and technologies. I do my best to help contribute to the collection on a regular basis. And while this vast collection of thought leadership can help set a powerful foundation for strategic store fulfillment decisions, I feel like we sometimes avoid the most important thing of all: our own opinions and experiences.

Sure, always “going with your gut” is not a viable business plan, especially for a multi-million-dollar retail business. But indulge me for just a minute. Try a quick exercise to see what I mean:

Think about the last time you ordered a product online and opted to pick it up in your local store. The online experience was most likely simple, efficient and turnkey. But what happened when the time came to pick up your order? Were you able to find the pickup area quickly and easily? Was there a dedicated associate on hand to pick and pack up your purchase? Would you consider the entire process fast and easy? If so, great. These elements make up the foundation of a successful (if not exciting) in-store fulfillment experience.

But let’s think a little more critically about your experience. Was the order already prepared for your arrival? Was the associate prepared to engage in a pleasant — and informed — conversation with you? Was he or she aware of your history with their brand? Did they ask you if you needed any assistance with your purchase, or if you were interested in any other products? Was the item appropriately packed, or was it hastily dropped in a shopping bag?

Your answers to these questions based on individual experiences may not seem like a big deal. Together, however, they make up the bulk (if not the entirety) of your in-store fulfillment experience. And if your experiences were less-than-stellar, you wouldn’t be alone. In fact, very few retailers have yet to sufficiently invest in ensuring their stores are consistently delivering efficient, personalized and turnkey in-store fulfillment experiences. The vast majority of shoppers are greeted with merely utilitarian experiences that neither excite nor differentiate.

Make no mistake, however: the nuts and bolts of fulfillment are critical. Once shoppers have given you their money and taken the time to drive to the store to pick up their order, failure is not an option. Even slight stumbles can cause big, brand-busting disappointment. Mistakes must be avoided at all costs.

Avoiding those often-fatal mistakes in the store fulfillment lifecycle requires several foundational elements. First and foremost, it requires a 360-degree view of the extended enterprise. Inventory planners must allocate inventory based on both past performance and expected future behaviors. Stores must have the people, processes and technology in place to ensure the in-store fulfillment process is as efficient for employees as it is enjoyable for customers.

However, these first steps represent merely the foundation of what I believe should be a much larger, strategic vision for truly differentiating store fulfillment experiences. I believe the time has come to stop thinking of fulfillment as a utilitarian exercise and to instead think of the opportunities store pickups represent to engage customers differently by taking full advantage of every store visit.

Here are six steps, based upon our experience with hundreds of retail brands that are rethinking their omnichannel journeys, that I believe can help you transform your store fulfillment experiences.

  1. Get to know your customer: You may think you know your customer, but the reality is they're constantly evolving. What excited them last year may be considered boring today, and what motivated them yesterday may not garner a second glance tomorrow. It is important to constantly collect and analyze customer behaviors and insights, especially about their expectations and desires for store fulfillment experiences — something I find very few retailers typically examine.
  2. Recognize store fulfillment is also a marketing exercise: Even if your primary responsibilities require you to focus on the planning and logistical side of the experience, it is important to recognize that store fulfillment is also — and I would argue perhaps primarily — a marketing exercise. The store pickup process is rich with engagement, brand-building and cross-selling opportunities for those who pay attention. Make it a priority to collaborate with your colleagues in marketing and customer experience. Rely upon their knowledge of your customer and put their creativity to work to help design experiences and campaigns that will help you make the most of every store fulfillment visit.
  3. Know that no detail is too small: That’s right, even the way your online orders are packed makes a difference. Instead of the same-old brown boxes, why not invest in higher-quality, branded packaging? Why not have executives or “stylists” write personalized notes to customers, thanking them for their loyalty? These little things can add surprise and delight to the fulfillment experience and certainly help you stand out from the rest.
  4. Think through the entire journey: Once you have a basic understanding of your customer, you can then envision what the best, most innovative in-store pickup experiences would look like for your customers. Would it lean more on cutting-edge technology to maximize efficiency and convenience, or would it lean more heavily upon on informed and empowered store associates to create a high-touch, assisted selling experience? Would you offer “uber-fast” services like curbside pickup to busy moms toting around their tots? Think first about what you would do if there were no limits, and then revise based on budgetary constraints and other considerations.
  5. Embrace technology (when it makes sense): How many times have we heard about the latest and greatest technologies for retail, only to see them fizzle out in a matter of months? It’s difficult to get budget for technology as it is, so be sure that you have a plan and strategy for your investments. This ties back (once again) to knowing your customer: Which technology would they perceive as valuable during the in-store fulfillment experience? Would employees benefit from having smartphones or tablets? Would smart fitting room technology or in-store displays help drive additional sales? Could technology automate the entire fulfillment process? These are only a few of many questions to ask to get your creative wheels turning.
  6. Keep an ear to the ground: There are always new trends emerging in the retail space. Artificial intelligence and conversational commerce are just two that have the entire retail community buzzing. While it’s certainly not realistic or viable to hop on every new trend, brainstorming ways to incorporate them into fulfillment practices can be a great exercise for expanding your creativity. Who knows, you may come up with the latest and greatest best practice in in-store fulfillment.

So yes, while in-store fulfillment has indeed become table stakes, retailers have a great opportunity to differentiate throughout the entire experience. I know this is no easy feat, especially on top of all the other tasks and to-dos you must juggle. That’s why we created the Omnichannel Fulfillment Blueprint: to help retailers develop the strategies and tactics that work best for their customers and business model. Our new blueprint is a step-by-step guide to creating differentiating in-store fulfillment experiences, developed with the help and advice of numerous experts and retail advisers.

Because the time to differentiate is now. Are you ready to get started?


Dave Bruno is Marketing Director of Aptos. He is a 25-year retail technology veteran, having spent his entire career helping retailers leverage technology to maximum competitive advantage. He is an active blogger, prolific content developer, sought-after speaker and webinar host, and frequent podcaster. Bruno also is a member of the RetailWire Brain Trust, an avid supporter of RetailROI and a member of the Demand Gen Report Advisory Board.

]]> (Dave Bruno, Aptos) Executive ViewPoints Mon, 15 Oct 2018 08:30:53 -0400
USPS Seeks Package Shipping Price Hike USPS Seeks Package Shipping Price Hike

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has proposed raising the cost of its parcel select service in January 2019, boosting the price for packages weighing over one pound by 9.3% and lighter packages by 12.3%, according to CNBC. The agency also may raise the price for priority mail services.

While these increases will not affect holiday 2018, shipping costs and logistics are still a major concern during this season: 54% of retailers say driving sales on Cyber Monday is more important to their company than Black Friday, according to a survey by RetailMeNot. Retailers looking to maximize conversions on that day should keep in mind that 60% of shoppers said they won’t complete a holiday purchase without first securing free shipping.

Fulfillment windows also need to be taken into consideration, as 40% of shoppers say taking more than two days for delivery would prevent them from making an e-Commerce purchase, while 63% expect delivery within three days as the standard, according to Kibo. This concern is particularly important for Millennials, 89% of whom want their gift purchases in hand as soon as possible, according to RetailMeNot.

The USPS proposal comes six months after President Trump issued an executive order setting up a task force to examine the financial stability of the USPS. The price bumps “reflect the best judgment of the Postal Service Governors, who are seeking to establish new rates that will keep the Postal Service competitive, while also providing the Postal Service with much needed revenue,” according to a USPS spokesperson.

The planned cost increase for priority mail is 5.9%,while priority mail express would go up by 3.9%. Additionally, the first-class package service would move to zone-based pricing. A full listing of proposed fee changes can be found at

]]> (Bryan Wassel) News Briefs Fri, 12 Oct 2018 11:57:24 -0400
How Retailers And Suppliers Can Evaluate The Long-Term Impact Of In-Store Demos

0aaaHarsh Paliwal TredenceThe retail landscape is changing rapidly. In order to compete with online options, brick-and-mortar retailers must create amazing in-store experiences. Many are turning to a concept called Retailtainment, or retail marketing as entertainment. Author George Ritzer (in his book, Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption), describes Retailtainment as the "use of ambience, emotion, sound and activity to get customers interested in the merchandise and in a mood to buy."

One retailtainment tactic is the in-store demo. Large retailers love them, because they draw customers and not only boost same-day sales of the demonstrated items, but also typically boost category sales. Plus, retailers collect a fee from the manufacturer.

But suppliers aren’t as enamored. In evaluating their investment in in-store demos, they are naturally not impressed with category sales, looking only at same-day sales of the item they are promoting. While a 150% boost in same-day sales is not unusual, sometimes that’s not enough to make up for the work involved and the fee to the retailer. In addition, the impact is not always clear, as neither retailers nor suppliers have had good tools for measuring short-term and long-term impact of in-store demos. They are also not particularly good at planning in-store demos — selecting the best products, stores and timing to optimize ROI.

For a Fortune 50 retailer, we set out to prove that the impact of in-store demos extended well beyond the day of the event, building a model that predicted on average a 150% lift on the day of the demo, plus a 90% boost in item sales over the following three months. We also crafted models to help them select the vendors and products whose in-store demos would lead to the best improvements in incremental sales.

Taking The Long View: In-Store Demos As A Network Of Events

There are three factors for suppliers and retailers to consider when evaluating the impact of in-store demos:

  1. Conversion (non-customer to customer, or non-loyal to loyal);
  2. Loyalty (product, category or brand); and
  3. Halo effect (customers who purchase additional items from a manufacturer’s repertoire over time).

And they must look at both the short-term and long-term impact on each facet.

In order to measure all of that, suppliers and retailers must take a look at individual customer journeys.

It’s in retailers’ best interest to prove out the longer-term value of in-store demos, since they want to book more.

How Suppliers Should Evaluate The Worth Of In-Store Demos

Suppliers want to optimize which products to demo, where and how often. The predictive model looks something like this:

ROI = [(W1 × Lift from existing customers)+(W2 × Lift from new customers)]/(Demo fee + third-party fee)

Different weights can be provided to retention and acquisition. If retention is the primary goal, W1 would have the higher weight. If acquisition is the primary goal, W2 would have the higher weight.

There are also constraints to consider — for instance, demos per store, demos per product, number of overall demos, reach and of course budget.

How Retailers Need To Think About Evaluating In-Store Demos

While suppliers are thinking about the balance of demos among different retailers, retailers are thinking about the right balance of supplier demos in their stores.

For a Fortune 50 retailer, we built an interactive tool (based on a model similar to the supplier one above) that enables staff to choose the distribution of demos among suppliers and see the impact on lift and target attainment. While the model automatically determines the right mix of demos to ensure the retailer meets its targets, staff can dial certain suppliers up or down to see the impact on targets.

The model also helps determine, for each supplier, which products to demo, calculating the expected product, brand and category lifts for each product, plus the expected reach. Again, staff can tweak the mix to see the impact in each area. They can also run the model for a specific region, division or even store.

To craft this model, we analyzed data from millions of individual customer transactions, extracting figures for same-day sales of demonstrated items, follow-on sales of that item for three months, and category/brand sales over that time period. This allowed us to detect purchase patterns and longer-term effects of in-store demos. Then we segmented the customers, and built models for different segments.

Our analysis showed, on average, a 150% lift in same-day sales for a demonstrated CPG item – followed by a 90% lift for that item over the course of the next 90 days. In other words, an item that typically sold at a volume of $10,000 per day went to $25,000 a day on the day of the demo, and then another incremental $9,000 over the 90 days following. Thus, the incremental lift for the in-store demo was not just $15,000 in one day, but $24,000 over 90 days — substantially changing the ROI picture for everyone involved.

This Fortune 50 retailer can share the model’s output with suppliers as they jointly plan in-store demos across regions — making the exercise much more quantitative than it once was. We believe this approach will become common in the coming year, bringing analytic rigor to a practice that has been off the radar for most data science teams.


Caption: Retailers and suppliers have different objectives for in-store demos. It’s important for each to understand the other’s goals.

Advice for suppliers and retailers that are considering taking this path:

  • Don’t think of in-store demos as discrete events, but rather as a network of events. A second demo might help jumpstart waning incremental impact from a previous demo.
  • Don’t forget the halo effect. Too often, suppliers focus only on sales of the demonstrated product, but don’t evaluate sales of other products from the brand.
  • Use the data for fee negotiation. Suppliers should make sure they aren’t paying for category lift benefits, and both suppliers and retailers should consider fees based on the long-term impact of a demo event.

As Principal at Tredence, Harsh Paliwal is responsible for leading their retail practice. Paliwal is a technology enthusiast and always looks for ways to drive consumption of analytics through technology. His current passion is to build value-driven organizations, and he can be reached at


]]> (Harsh Paliwal, Tredence) Executive ViewPoints Fri, 12 Oct 2018 10:54:52 -0400
Walmart Shoppers Will Get Cash Access From PayPal Accounts Walmart Shoppers Will Get Cash Access From PayPal Accounts

For the first time, PayPal is letting shoppers get cash from their accounts in a brick-and-mortar store. The payments company will start offering deposit and withdrawal services at Walmart stores.

The partnership will allow PayPal users to put cash into or take cash out of either their PayPal accounts or PayPal Cash Mastercard accounts at any Walmart customer service desk, ATM or cash register for a flat $3 fee. PayPal cash in is already available at all Walmart locations, and PayPal cash out will be available at all U.S. stores by early November.

The service has the potential to attract consumers with limited or no banking services; 27% of American consumers are unbanked or underbanked, according to the FDIC. With 90% of Americans living within 10 miles of a Walmart store, according to Daniel Eckert, Senior VP of Walmart Services and Digital Acceleration, these consumers would likely have easier access to funds with PayPal services in stores.

The move also represents a resurgence for PayPal’s brick-and-mortar ambitions, which had dissipated as other tap-to-pay solutions such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay became more popular checkout options in recent years.

]]> (Glenn Taylor) News Briefs Fri, 12 Oct 2018 10:41:51 -0400