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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.

Roots, Jones Apparel Group Tap ‘Fan Shop’ For Enhanced Facebook Engagement

As retailers continue to focus on the value of social media, it’s clear that Facebook is a driving, dominant force of customer engagement. The anticipated social commerce adoption is staggering, as 86% of retailers and consumer products manufacturers plan to implement a social commerce strategy in 2011, up from just 20% in 2010, according to Altimeter Group. Catering to the growing demand for social commerce solutions, Fluid, an interactive agency with offices in San Francisco and New York, has launched Fluid Activate, a complementary solution to the company proprietary Fan Shop offering, designed to help eTailers engage with Facebook users. The solution is aimed at helping to drive engagement, loyalty and e-Commerce revenue. In addition, Fluid Activate offers rich-media merchandising capabilities to Facebook pages.

The Home Depot Adds 2D Scanning To Advertising And Store Shelves

The Home Depot is tapping into the growing mobile barcode trend by providing 2D (QR) barcodes from Scanbuy in print advertising, direct mail pieces and on store shelves. By scanning the codes with their smart phones, shoppers will have immediate access to product ratings and reviews, how-to guides and videos. “We know our customers are already using their mobile device to assist in the purchasing process, and now Home Depot is embracing this technology to more closely connect our stores and customers to our digital content," said Tom Sweeney, Senior Director of Online Strategy for Homedepot.com, in a press statement.

Microsoft Tag Makes Inroads At More Than 53,000 Stores

Shoppers at CVS and Walgreens, among many other stores, are now able to use their smart phones to scan Microsoft Tag 2D barcodes on Herbal Essences products. The Tags are designed as shelf talkers that provide information to help shoppers decide which hair care product to purchase. Herbal Essences rolled out the campaign to more than 53,000 stores in the U.S. including food stores, drug stores, mass merchants, dollar stores and office supply stores. By scanning the Tag, shoppers can view detailed descriptions of each hair care collection that corresponds to their hair type, according to Microsoft. Customers also are invited to take a quiz about their hair type, view product reviews and view YouTube videos with tips on hair styling. Recent research shows that this type of enhanced marketing is on the rise, with 21% currently using 2D barcodes and an additional 40% saying they have plans to add the technology within the next 12 to 24 months, according to the November 2010 report titled “Going Mobile,” presented by IHL Services and RetailConnections.

Whole Foods Market Ramps Up “Check-ins” With In-Store Mobile Module

The conversation around location-based mobile applications has created big buzz among retail marketers looking for ways to extend brand outreach and engage mobile shoppers. But when leveraging apps like shopkick or Foursquare, among others, retailers are not reaching customers via their own branded application or channel. Whole Foods Market recently tapped Digby to leverage the company’s most recent launch, an In-Store Mobile Module, a feature set designed to enable retailers to engage and communicate with customers from the moment they enter the store to the time they leave, all through the retailer’s branded application.

Stratacache Demonstrates Gestural Technology At Digital Signage Expo In Las Vegas

STRATACACHE, a provider of digital signage, content distribution and enterprise video acceleration technologies, exhibited this week at the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas. The company demonstrated its newest ActiVia Gestural Interactive technology, and revealed the latest feature of its ActiVia for Media software. STRATACACHE applied its Gestural Interactive technology to produce the Gestural Mannequin, a digital display that features dynamic content programmed to respond to consumer hand gestures when motion-based sensors and cameras located on and in digital displays are triggered. The technology powering the Gestural Mannequin — STRATACACHE’s ActiVia for Media software — is linked to store inventory data, revealing specific products for consumers to virtually browse via gestures, then select styles and check inventory to finalize their purchases. The company also introduced an audio feature for its ActiVia for Media software. The new audio software contains advanced music transitioning features, including cross-fade, fade-in, or fade-out options, which retailers can integrate into their in-store environments.

1800Flowers.com, Totsy Execs Discuss Social Commerce On Panel At NYC Event

Retail executives from 1800Flowers.com, Totsy, and Caboodle joined sponsor dotbox to discuss social commerce trends during Social Media Week in New York City in February. During an event welcome, Ashley Heather, Founder and CEO of dotbox shared his thoughts on the rise of social commerce. “Commerce has been social since day one,” he noted. But the Internet rapidly changed the way the consumers interact with and experience retail brands, Heather added. dotbox, panel discussion sponsor, is a New York City-based agency that provides e-commerce organizations with solutions to integrate social media.

750,000 Shoppers Scan More Than 3 Million Products Using shopkick Location-Based App

Location-based marketing and rewards continue to draw shoppers in-store. shopkick, the location-based shopping app that rewards shoppers simply for visiting stores, recently announced that its active user base has expanded to 750,000 users in five months. Shopkick users have scanned more than 3 million products at 250,000 locations nationwide, from partner brands Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and HP. Launched in August 2010, shopkick has been downloaded 750,000 times, with at least 10% of users active in the app every day. Leading retailers including Best Buy, American Eagle Outfitters, Macy’s and The Sports Authority were among the first to join the shopkick community to offer customers the opportunity to be immediately acknowledged in-store via smart phones. Best Buy had integrated shopkick with its point of sale system to streamline the redemption of special in-store offers, and/or added bonuses for scanning barcodes of specific products. Since then, Target and Crate and Barrel and Wet Seal also have partnered with shopkick to deliver rewards to in-store customers.

JCPenney Rolls Out iPad Devices To Provide Interactive Access To Product Info

Tablet technology is the cool, new kid on the retail block, so it’s no surprise that JCPenney (JCP) is taking steps to leverage iPads in-store for an enhanced customer experience. There is no escaping the growing need for innovative ways to empower store associates. According to the 2011 Store Systems Study conducted by IHL Group, half of retailer respondents (50%) cited “providing store associates with better tools” as their number-one store system priority in 2011, which was previously the third most important priority in 2010. JCPenney is focus on an overall “findmore” strategy, which encourages store associates and customers to “find more” by providing access to the expanded assortments and product information available on jcp.com. JCPenney currently is rolling out its findmore smart fixture to more than 120 select stores across the U.S. The retailer also will be utilizing the iPad device in 50 fine jewelry departments in conjunction with its Modern Bride concept.

Retailers Share Predictions, Expectations At 100th NRF Convention

CEOs, CIOs, CMOs and other top executives from the most influential retail companies are poised to share insights and expertise with their retail peers at the 100th Annual National Retail Federation Convention in New York next week from Sunday, January 9 through Wednesday, January 12, 2011. Executives from Macy’s, Tesco, Food Lion Family, Groupe Casino, Collective Brands, Retail Brand Alliance, HSN and Disney Store are among the many who will speak during Super Sessions covering topics that span the universe of retail issues, such as: Precision Retail and the Mobilized Consumer Retail’s Road to Recovery: Status Report on the Global Economy Consumer 2020: What Lies Ahead for the Retail Industry?

Strategies To Drive Growth, Offset Price Wars Presented At Kantar Retail’s Strategic Outlook

While physical expansion opportunities may seem obsolete for many retailers, the need to drive growth and revenue continues to pressure the increasingly competitive marketplace. As part of its Strategic Outlook Conference series, Kantar Retail brought several turnkey presentations to New York City this week, offering retailers tactical measurements that are central to driving growth. While consumer insights have long been a key piece of the retail pie, the Kantar Retail analysts presented a breadth of information that retailers must consider as part of their overall marketing strategies. Senior Economist Frank Badillo opened the conference with his presentation, “Finding the Levers for Retail Growth: An Economic Approach.” In 2009, Kantar Retail forecasted a recovery that would build quarter-by-quarter in 2010, and sales recovered even stronger than anticipated. This, Badillo said, was driven by “stronger-than-expected economic stimulus and pent-up demand” for various retail products. “There are sufficient signs that the job market is on the road to recovery, but sales growth will be hurt by price comparison in the market,” Badillo said. Competitive differentiation is a growing necessity. While the holiday forecast puts annual 2010 growth slightly above the initial 3.3% initial forecast, Kantar Retail’s preliminary forecast is that 2011 growth will…

New Holiday Outlook Provides Insights Into Attracting ‘Value-Driven Shoppers’

With Black Friday only weeks away, retailers are preparing last-minute strategies to attract and engage the new “value-driven consumer,” who will be searching for the best deals, and using new media tools to save at checkout. According to Citigroup analyst Deborah Weinswig, this new category of shopper spans demographics and economic standings. Following the “Consumer Hourglass Theory,” Weinswig said consumer spending will primarily be at the top and bottom of the hourglass as high-income consumers recover and low-income consumers remain challenged. “This should benefit retailers that cater to high-income consumers (such as Saks and Nordstrom) as well as value-oriented retailers (such as the dollar stores).” The new 2010 Holiday Outlook, available as a complimentary report from Retail TouchPoints, addresses the trends and strategies driven by value-driven shoppers. The Outlook also provides insight on current shopper-driven technologies, new applications designed to empower the shopper and tactical ideas on how retailers can utilize mobile commerce opportunities to heighten functionality and convenience for shoppers.

Young Adults Still Prefer Offline Marketing Offers

By Tom Ryan, 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. Despite the popularity of Facebook with the demographic, by a wide margin 18- to 34-year-olds still prefer to learn about marketing offers via postal mail and newspapers rather than online sources such as social media platforms, according to national survey from ICOM, a division of Epsilon Targeting. The survey found that across a number of household, health and food products, the preference for 18- to 34-year-old Americans to receive marketing information from offline sources, led by mail and newspapers, is two to three times greater than online sources, such as social media. The one exception was travel, where online information was preferred to offline by a 42% to 35% margin.

ISD Payment Switch
 Celebrates 25 years and Givex Gift Card Program Integration

ISD Corporation, a provider of secure payment management software and solutions for merchants, and Givex, a global provider of closed loop card technologies including gift, loyalty, and other stored value programs, have announced the integration of the Givex gift card program to the ISD Payment Switch. The announcement follows ISD’s 25th anniversary in the payment software industry. The Givex integration is designed to allow merchants using the ISD Payment Switch to take advantage of Givex's gift card program so they can drive customer acquisition and sales. Merchants will be able to activate, reload and redeem gift cards, giving recipients the extra push to make their first purchase from a business. Givex’s goal is to provide solutions for businesses so they can acquire new customers, learn about customers by building a customer database, communicate with customers, and reward loyal customers.

Impulse Shopping Suffers At Supermarkets As More Consumers Focus On Pre-Trip Prep

By George Anderson, 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. Impulse shopping? Not so much. That's the conclusion of new research by NPD Group, which finds that the overwhelming majority of consumers are going off to food stores with shopping lists and coupons in hand. According to NPD's Before the Store report, 94% of U.S. households prepare a written shopping list before they head out and 72% never or only occasionally deviate from their planned purchases. NPD also found that most households have a primary person, usually but not always a woman, responsible for handling the grocery shopping. Interestingly, the development of the shopping list appears to include various family members. Kids, for example, contribute to 40% of the lists made up by family households. "For food and beverage manufacturers and retailers, it's all about getting on the list," said Ann Hanson, executive director of product development at NPD Group and author of the report, in a press release.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising: 3 Strategies to Up the Urgency & Boost Sales

By Matt Lawson, VP of Marketing, Marin Software Every retailer knows that urgency sells. The “one-day sale” or “20% off this week only" promotions are a mainstay of retail marketing — enticing shoppers to take advantage of limited-time offers. But while these messages work well in email, print, and TV campaigns, retailers have struggled to incorporate these “urgency messages” into their online advertising. With search marketing, in particular, managing urgency campaigns has proven very difficult, especially when a retailer's search program spans millions of keywords. As a retail marketer, how can you incorporate urgency messages into your paid search advertising programs? What language works to drive the highest level of “buy now” activity? And, most importantly, how can you effectively manage the use of limited-time urgency messages in paid search programs that span millions of keywords?
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