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Omnichannel / Cross-Channel Strategies

Cross-Channel Strategies offers readers an inside look at the successful cross-channel promotions, campaigns and programs employed by industry leaders. Retailers across industry segments and regions are adopting unique and innovative approaches to reaching today’s cross-channel consumers. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

RSR Research: What Role Will Mobile Play in Stores?

By Nikki Baird, Managing Partner, RSR Research Editor’s Note: The following article is an excerpt from one of RetailWire’s recent online discussions. Each business morning on RetailWire.com, retail industry execs get plugged in to the latest news and issues with key insights from a "BrainTrust" panel of retail industry experts. Through a special arrangement, presented on RetailWire for discussion is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, Retail Systems Research's weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers. Store operations have rarely taken the time to understand e-commerce — the technology or the channel — a group of six chief information officers (CIOs) from an array of retail verticals told me at a round table discussion at RIS News' Executive Summit event. And so mobile is yet another development in an area of poor understanding, What's different about mobile vs. online retail is the visibility that stores have into the effect mobile has on shopping behavior. Online shopping was an at-home activity, so it had little direct effect on store operations. Mobile, on the other hand, is often an at-the-shelf activity, and front line employees find themselves dealing with a whole new set of questions from better informed customers. Unfortunately…

American Eagle, Kmart Make The Grade With Moblie Promos For Back to School

If the back to school season continues to be an early indicator of retailers’ promotion plans for the all important fourth quarter, expect mobile and social campaigns to be driving a lot more conversations. Looking to grab their share of the more than $21 billion spent on school-aged children during the back to school season, American Eagle, Kmart, JC Penney and others tapped into the growing dependency on social networks and mobile devices. In addition to increased promotional activity from retailers, a new Deloitte survey found that 29% of consumers plan to use their mobile phones to help them make the right choice in school items, while 38% said they will use these methods to access price information. Consumers are using social networks for various reasons — 33% want to view a retailer’s advertisement and 30% to obtain discounts, coupons and sale information. The survey found that consumers' recession-induced behaviors are beginning to wane as households seek to replenish certain items and worry less about the economy, Alison Paul, Vice Chairman and Deloitte's Retail Sector Leader said in a press release. "Retailers may be encouraged that fewer consumers are planning to pare back this year, although they may find that…

Research Shows Segmentation Top Priority For E-Commerce Merchants

Segmentation and targeting are becoming more important to the overall web and cross-channel merchandising strategy of 98% of mid-sized retailers (98%), according to new research from ATG (Art Technology Group). The company recently revealed the results of its research study titled “e-Commerce Technology Investment Priorities for the Mid-Market: The Merchant View,” which examined web growth priorities among mid-sized and fast-growing merchants in a variety of industries. “For years we’ve encouraged retailers and other merchants to embrace segmentation and targeting, because these types of merchandising tactics enable them to create more personalized, compelling experiences for their customers,” said Bill Zujewski, VP Product Marketing, ATG. “Ultimately, this leads to more sales and higher loyalty, and it also makes those customers feel better about doing business with a company that seems to understand their needs and preferences.”

How Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Can Compete and Win in the Mobile Arena

By Adi Prabhat Jain, Associate Sales Manager, Infosys Technologies Limited It seems that there is no end to the woes of brick-and-mortar retailers. In 2009, while total e-commerce sales were estimated to have registered an increase of 2%, the total retail sales decreased by 7%, according to the U.S Department of CommerceQuarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales. While online retailers have been dealing blows to brick-and-mortar retailers (for some time now) and driving prices down towards marginal costs, mobile phones threaten to slowly spell their death unless retailers do something radically different to connect with increasingly demanding customers. Advertising and promotional campaigns on mobile phones are fairly common and shopping on the mobile phone is fast picking up, albeit concerns over security still persist. However, a host of mobile applications, with diverse value propositions, are fast gaining traction. These applications are often freely downloadable and allow customers to search products, compare prices and promotions, read reviews and check in-store availability. What really sets them apart from their counterparts on the Internet is the fact that all this can be done anywhere, especially, at the point of purchase decision.

Amazon Integrates With Facebook For New Push Into Social Shopping

In one of the most powerful combinations yet of social media and e-commerce, Amazon and Facebook have quietly launched a new integration which could make shopping a seamless part of the social experience. The new integration is designed to allow users to link their Amazon and Facebook accounts to receive purchase suggestions based on their Facebook interests, see gift recommendations for friends with upcoming birthdays and browse items popular among friends. The integration, which pulls data from movie, music, and book preferences, uses Amazon’s recommendations feature to suggest similar products. The integration gives new meaning to social shopping, as it enables shoppers to tap the “You Might Also Like..” approach for gift shopping, all within Amazon’s network.

JC Penney, Forever 21 “Haul” In User-Generated Videos For Back to School Promos

In an age where consumer-generated content reigns, tech-savvy consumers have found a new way to support their shopping habits — by broadcasting their latest finds on YouTube for the social sphere to see. The videos, known as “hauls,” have made an impressive impact on YouTube, as more than 159,000 have been posted to the user-generated site. Retailers have taken notice, and several are now integrating the concept into their overall marketing strategy. JC Penney, Forever 21 and American Eagle have all tapped hauls to get a bigger bite of market share, as the National Retail Federation predicts back to school shopping for grades K-12 to reach $21.35 billion. JC Penny recently announced plans to give gift cards to teens who create haul videos after shopping at the store.

New Research Reaffirms More Consumers Starting Their Shopping Path Online

In an effort to track how shoppers are using retail web sites and define premium position within site search results new research found that 94% of shoppers click between one and 10 products, and from there, they look for price, product features and preferred brands as key differentiators. Searchandise Commerce yesterday announced the results of an in-depth research study titled “The Value of Retail Search and Position,” which was conducted by comScore and co-sponsored by iProspect. The study revealed that two-thirds of consumers begin the shopping process online, and that half convert offline. The path to purchase, in most cases, starts with a combination of search engine and site search on retail web sites for price, brand and feature information, as shoppers surveyed consult an average of 4.1 information sources during the process. The study further highlights that rankings matter in site search much like they do in search engine marketing: shoppers associate relevance and quality with products on the first page of search results.

Sterling Commerce Expands Mobile App Portfolio with BtoB Integration App

Sterling Commerce recently announced the launch of Sterling InFlight Data Management Mobile, a BtoB integration as-a-Service visibility offering for mobile devices. The application is designed to broaden the company’s mobile application portfolio, which includes Sterling Integrator Mobile and Sterling Control Center Mobile, which were announced in February. Sterling InFlight Data Management Mobile is designed to provide business users with up-to-the-minute visibility into their BtoB transactions. It is also designed to enable customers of Sterling BtoB integration solutions delivered as-a-Service to better manage the electronic document exchange supporting business-critical processes such as purchase orders, remittances and other supply chain operations. Specifically, the application is meant to enable customers to determine the status of a transaction; monitor and take action on errant transactions; and review the actions that trading partners have taken. According to a 2010 Vanson Bourne OmniBoss Survey on strategies for BtoB integration, 67% of U.S. companies say they predict effectiveness and productivity enhancements as a result of mobile devices increasing visibility of their BtoB data. For companies that look to third-party support for management of their critical BtoB data, such as Sterling BtoB integration as-a-Service customers, Sterling InFlight Data Management Mobile is designed to provide the visibility to ensure…

New M-Commerce Guide Suggests Strategies To Leverage Smartphones For Conversion

As the growth of smartphone adoption continues to impact the way consumers find and buy products, a new guide from the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) was released yesterday to offer strategies to help retailers assimilate to the new mobile commerce landscape. The M-Commerce Guide is the first output of MEF’s M-Commerce initiative led by an expert committee of members and written through consultation with leading industry players to engage, educate and evolve the potential of mobile. The guide was designed to help retailers better understand how to leverage the mobile device to drive customer acquisition, retention and most importantly, conversion. As the mobile device increasingly becomes a tool to facilitate m-commerce, the ways to engage consumers with discovery tools also increases, the report said. But it requires more than just translating existing channels of communication, such as trying to replicate the Internet storefront on the mobile deice — it requires a dedicated and well thought out strategy to maximize the potential of m-commerce.

Disney’s First “Apple Inspired” Store Steps Up Interactive Shopping Experience

By Tom Ryan, Managing Editor, RetailWire Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from one of RetailWire’s recent online discussions. Each business morning on RetailWire.com, retail industry execs get plugged in to the latest news and issues with key insights from a "BrainTrust" panel of retail industry experts. The Walt Disney Co. last week opened the first of its 300 planned revamped Disney Stores in Montebello, CA. Inspired by Apple Inc.'s design team, the store features multimedia technology and interactive storytelling with a goal of keeping shoppers entertained for 30 minutes. Among the features of the 4,800 square foot store: A Pixar RIDEMAKERZ area that allows people to assemble and accessorize their favorite Cars character. A wide selection of rims, side pipes, hoods scoops, blown engines, spoilers and other accessories enables customer to customize the cars to their liking; A child-sized Disney Princess Castle including a "Magic Mirror," in which a Disney princess can be summoned with a wave of the wand to tell stories to children.

Motorcycle Superstore Drives $1M Revenue Spike With Recommendations

Retailers are tasked with the ever-present challenge to give customers what they want, when they want it — and even perhaps offer customers things they didn’t even know they might want. Targeted recommendations have been helping one one retailer accomplish just that, creating an automated way to offer customers extended options with a “helping hand” while shopping online. Ranked #197 on the Internet Retailer 500, Motorcycle Superstore is an online motorcycle outfitter with more than $60 million in annual online sales. The e-tailer sought to replace its existing in-house product recommendation system with a more scalable solution. The company tapped RichRelevance to implement its RichRecs solution, which includes extensive merchandiser controls. “We wanted to find an effective way to engage our customer with relevant products that really fit their needs as motorcycle enthusiasts,” said Greg Anderson, Head of E-Commerce, Motorcycle Superstore. “We were doing our own recommendations on the site — but it wasn’t a cost effective way for us to display recommendations — and we wanted to find a way to interact with customers on a more individual basis as opposed to setting global rule sets for product groups.”

Buy.com; Nike Utilizing Mobile Payment; Poised for Steady Increase

The mobile craze has been loud and proud over the last year, as smartphones enable shoppers to get the information they’re looking for when they’re looking for it. Price comparison is alive and well in your stores and on your e-Commerce sites, and now the mobile phone’s capabilities are coming to life at the point of sale. Recent data indicates that the number of mobile payment users worldwide will exceed 108.6 million in 2010, a 54.5% increase from 2009, when there were 70.2 million users, according to Gartner, Inc. Mobile payment users will represent 2.1% of all mobile users in 2010. In May, DeviceFidelity, a mobile technology company, announced the availability of its In2Pay solution for the iPhone, designed to enable iPhone users to make contactless visa transactions by waving their phone in front of a contactless payment terminal. By placing a removable In2Pay microSD into the protective case, iPhone users can take advantage of In2Pay's secure contactless capabilities where contactless transactions are offered. They range from buying goods in retail stores and at unattended kiosks, to transit ticketing, and even securely accessing buildings and computers networks. Trials are scheduled to start during the second quarter of 2010, according to…

Groupon Taps Unica for Four-Pronged Email Optimization Approach

Launched in November 2008, Groupon is a local shopping web site offering unbeatable discounts on the best things to eat, do, see and buy in a variety of cities across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America. The company is growing rapidly, as its U.S. database has grown from 1.2 million U.S. and Canadian email subscribers in October 2009 to nearly seven million in June 2010. Groupon sends nearly 150 million emails each month, which ultimately translates to nearly 1.5 billion emails per year. So far Groupon is offered in more than 150 cities worldwide. Each email list is cohesive to a particular market that Groupon serves, and each member receives emails featuring the day’s deals for that particular locale. Most of the markets are sent an e-mail every weekday, though some receive e-mails seven days a week. Leveraging the urgent nature of a daily deal, each offer is transmitted at 5 a.m. local time, and ends at midnight. So it’s imperative that the emails are transmitted and received efficiently. With such a high (and growing) volume of email communication to manage, Groupon needed a solution to optimize its deliverability and rendering.

Amazon.com Acquires Woot.com For the Ultimate “Daily Deal”

Yesterday the news hit that Amazon.com has acquired online discount retailer Woot.com, a web site that acquires inventory opportunistically from manufacturers and sells it online and offline. Though best known for its retail channel, Woot.com, the daily deals site, also sells on a drop-ship basis for other retailers. But it's best known for its own retail channel, Woot.com, a daily deals site that is joined by sister sites Shirt.Woot.com and Wine.Woot.com. The Woot sites are now its largest channel, according to Woot.com CEO Matt Rutledge.

Industry Leaders Provide Insight Into Retail Success in a Mobile/Social World

More than 120 retailers joined Google and other industry-leading companies to delve into the hottest topic in retail today: bringing the fourth channel – mobile – to life. In addition to a presentation by Wet Seal CIO Jon Kubo, participants at this week’s Oracle Crosstalk event heard from a panel of experts including executives from Google, Digby and Buzzient. Wet Seal has been on the forefront of the mobile/social scene, tapping into the growing use of social media to create successful marketing programs. Approximately 72% of Wet Seal customers (ages 15-19) are on Facebook today, Kubo said, not to mention Twitter, YouTube and Myspace. And while a web-only social media marketing strategy may work today, the mobile channel is growing at such a rapid rate that retailers that don’t include mobile in the mix will be left behind.
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