Monday, October 15, 2007

Creative Way At Bridging The Online And Offline World Together

In the past I have posted about TargetLists before, but this technology just gets more integrated and richer with time. It really is Amazon's gift list on steroids with a store based focus. The potential user applications abound for this as it really does offer a utilitarian tool to helping people better communicate and manage things they want or need to buy.

Target adds online and offline gifting and shopping list technology

Target Corp. has introduced a gift and shopping list tool that can be used online or at in-store kiosks. TargetLists is designed to enhance the process of creating or shopping from a list wherever consumers choose to shop. Accessible online at, shoppers can browse products, create lists, add items or track items purchased, and share lists with family and friends. To browse and select items, list creators can scan an item’s barcode in-store or click on the item they want to add online.

Gift-givers can visit their local Target store to purchase gifts or shop from an online list where items can be purchased, wrapped and shipped. Target is No. 19 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

To ensure gift recipients get what they want, they can add specific information about an item in the Comments section, offer general details to gift-givers about the items such as favorite colors or themes in the Message section, and add notes such as whether items are available exclusively online or in-store in the Notes section. List makers also can store future gift ideas, track items purchased, find other people’s lists, and e-mail their lists to friends and family.

Guests can make their lists open to public viewing or keep them private and accessible only with a user ID. In addition, there are no limits to the number or kinds of lists that guests can create.

“TargetLists is a unique tool for our guests who are either creating lists for their shopping needs or who want a little extra inspiration when choosing a gift,” says Gina Sprenger, senior vice president, merchandising. Shoppers also can access Club Wedd and Target Baby registries via the TargetLists web page and the in-store kiosks.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

In-Store Marketing Is Growing @ 21% Per Year

The below article describes Nielsen’s new research pertaining to “Shopper Marketing”, which includes retail circulars shows, that in-store marketing is growing +21% per year, almost as high as internet marketing. It argues that to be competitive in the marketplace that an advertiser needs to make sure to properly allocated advertising budget spending into this type to ensure a balanced and integrated campaign which will drive optimal results. Nielsen used Prizm data with the help of Deloitte to back up their claims.

What's In Store: The Rise of Shopper Marketing
P&G, Wal-Mart, Nielsen Dive Into Medium That's Growing Faster Than Web
By Jack Neff
Published: October 01, 2007

So this is what marketing has come to: The hottest medium around may be pasted to the floor at Wal-Mart or dangling from a shelf on aisle five at Safeway, segmented into such dayparts as "national weekday cereal aisle."

Laugh if you want, but some people believe shopper marketing will reshape marketing for some very big spenders. Senior executives from the world's biggest advertiser, biggest retailer and biggest media-buying agency turned up at the In-Store Marketing Expo in Chicago last week to tout a new way of measuring shopper marketing by the world's biggest research firm, Nielsen Co.

It was just one more milestone for shopper marketing, which is growing faster than internet advertising -- doubling since 2004 and on pace for a compound annual growth rate of 21% through 2010, according to a draft study by Deloitte from the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

"Shopper marketing is a new medium as important as the internet, mobile or gaming," declared Starcom MediaVest Group North America CEO Renetta McCann at the announcement of pilot results using Nielsen In-Store's Prism initiative, essentially a ratings system for in-store media and marketing that measures reach and frequency similar to TV. "It's a brand-new ballgame, and we're all in."

P&G steps up spending
Late last month, the world's largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble Co., restated 11 years of advertising expenditures in its financial reports, largely to reflect spending on shopper marketing. The moving parts in the restatement suggest P&G is spending at least $500 million annually on shopper marketing. And the Deloitte/GMA data suggest the marketer may actually be a bit behind others in the industry in share of marketing spending there. P&G also recently moved many of its shopper-marketing executives to the same brand teams that determine the rest of its $8 billion in global ad spending.

Nowhere, however, was the dissonance between shopper marketing's growing importance and its often lowly appearance more apparent than at the In-Store Marketing Expo. As some of the top names in marketing talked theory in the auditorium, the practice of shopper marketing was in full display in the adjacent convention hall, where the latest vendors of video-enhanced shopping carts vied for attention alongside makers of corrugated displays.

This brave new world means buyers need to know not just how to bet in May on ratings for fall shows but also how to hedge the price of corrugated paper for end-aisle displays or haggle with News Corp. over something called "shelf talkers."

It wasn't so long ago that media agencies weren't in the game at all, said Peter Hoyt, executive director of the In-Store Marketing Institute. Now he knows every time a big media review is under way, he said, because the institute starts getting hits on its website from media agencies -- and new members, since much of the data there is for members only.

Large stakes
Following SMG's initial involvement in the Nielsen/Prism initiative, five media agencies have joined the consortium behind the effort, said George Wishart, global managing director of Nielsen In-Store. The agencies are following the media companies; the parents of the four leading broadcast networks have a stake in some facet of in-store media.

So Nielsen needs to get in on the action to broker the deals, though Prism hasn't yet applied for Media Ratings Council certification as a bona fide currency.

The Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric initiative uses a combination of electronic eyes and human counters to track how many people travel down each aisle in 160 stores representing about 60% of package-goods retail volume to date. Prism also measures what percentage of people who shop in an aisle actually buy something there.

It's the crowning achievement so far of Nielsen CEO David Calhoun's efforts to connect the pieces of the far-flung research firm to create new services. He likened Nielsen In-Store to his firm's TV and internet ratings. "It will allow in-store to rightfully take a seat at the marketing table and be considered in an analytical manner consistent with all good marketing and media planning," he said. "What you can measure, you can manage."

Therein also lies the pin that could prick the bubble. P&G Chief Operating Officer Robert McDonald politely declined to predict whether better measurement would lead P&G to shift more media money in store. But he noted another recent Deloitte study, this one showing that nine of 10 trade promos don't have a positive return on investment.

The right tool
He said P&G's spending on TV and print has been optimized extensively in recent years thanks to audience measurement and ROI analytics, but not shopper marketing. With Prism, he said, "we're going to have the data to make the right choices."

Mr. Calhoun said shopper marketing, if the definition expands to the trade-promotion dollars manufacturers pay retailers, displays or features in circulars, is already is a half-trillion-dollar business.

And the same marketers planning to spend more on shopper marketing are planning to spend around 2% less annually on trade promotion, the Deloitte/GMA study found. In the end, Prism could help manufacturers pry more money out of the black hole of trade promotion and put it into some form of measurable, brand-building media.

Who Knew That The Real Value Of Buy Online - Pick Up In Store Was Saving The Earth!

OK The following story that shares some stats from a recent Wal-Mart press release is bizarre. I never in a million years would have used the "green" angle to justify and show value of this program. To me the two biggest values that buy online and ship/pick up at a local store are:
  1. Lowers the retailer's overhead for checkout related expenses. Basically you move the cash register to the person's individual home and as a result you dont need an army of cashers, all the equipment that goes along and all of the precious store floor space that check out stands take up
  2. Allows the consumer to benefit from a much greater depth of selection (which is a big issue for Wal-Mart since they actually offer less selection than most other stores there same size)
Wal-Mart Says Its Site-to-Store Program Doing Well
By Evan Schuman, Ziff Davis Internet
July 11, 2007

Wal-Mart's version of the virtually ubiquitous buy-online-pickup-in-store strategy has reduced customer shipping costs by $5 million while sharply increasing new customer acquisitions and in-store upsells, according to figures released July 10 from the world's largest retailer.

In announcing that it is extending its Site-to-Store program to more than 3,300 stores in the U.S., Wal-Mart released a handful of carefully selected stats to show that its approach to the strategy is working.

Wal-Mart's approach is slightly different than the traditional approach, which uses the Web to help move in-store merchandise. The twist to Site-to-Store—which was launched in March—is that promotes "tens of thousands of products" that are not available in stores and then offers to ship them free to a local Wal-Mart.

Since the launch, about one-third of all sales have beeen placed through Site-to-Store, Wal-Mart said, specifying that "more than half-a-million total units have been shipped through Site-to-Store, saving customers more than $5 million in shipping fees."

On the new customer acquisition front, Wal-Mart's statement said that "more than 50 percent of Site-to-Store orders [came] from new customers who make their first purchase at using the service." The chain also reported a 20 percent increase in the number of Site-to-Store "customers who spend an additional $60 on purchases in the store when picking up their orders."

In the environmentally green arena, the $345 billion chain reported a weekly gasoline savings of 1,000 gallons and a monthly box reduction of 20,000 "as a result of transportation and packaging efficiencies."

That last claim caught the attention of veteran retail observer Jeff Roster, a Gartner research vice president specializing in retail.

"People save on shipping costs only to put some of it back into costs to drive to the store to pick up the merchandise. For me, it’s about convenience. I want to make sure the kayak is there along with the size 14 shoes I saw," Roster said. "Given the mileage I get on my crew cab truck, I didn’t save much. But the idea that green initiatives are gaining traction is fascinating. This could have a major impact on store design, logistics and definitely IT. This will also force IT service providers to embrace green IT as a manufacturing as well as a marketing strategy."

As for the other figures Wal-Mart released, Roster applauded the progress, especially the claim about customers spending more on-site. "If people are going to drive to the store, they are going to make incremental purchases," Roster said. "It is just another indication at how nimble Wal-Mart is."

Greg Buzek, the president of the IHL Consulting Group, said that while he "loves the idea" of using this tactic to get customers into the stores—and also to help Wal-Mart compete with those who want to compete on pure price—he wasn't clear from the released figures whether the additional $60 referenced was actually new money or not.

"The question is whether those people would have been at the Wal-Mart anyway. If they were planning to be there anyway and spend the $60, then this is no big deal," Buzek said. "If they can quantify that this was an additional trip and that they spent $60, then that is huge. I can’t tell" based on the figures Wal-Mart released.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Web's Influence Does Not Stop Within Traditional Retail

This is an cool study that sheds some light on the fact that nearly industry segment is affected by online research. So even the most traditional sale channels need to take heed to this consumer behavior.
Web converts more tire kickers to buyers at Hyundai dealer

Visitors who fill out an information-request form on Coastal Hyundai’s web site convert to buyers at a 22% rate, compared to about 16% for those who walk into the showroom, Wade Wahy, Internet sales manager for the Melbourne, FL, car dealer says.

“The Internet is definitely taking the lead in bringing customers to the dealership,” he says.

Coastal Hyundai, whose web site is hosted by, uses search marketing as well as traditional TV and print ads to bring consumers to its web site, “The web makes traditional marketing more effective because we get an instant response from consumers who log onto our site after seeing a TV or print ad,” Wahy says.

The site lets them view current inventory and fill out online forms for more information, engage in live chat with Wahy or other sales people, and e-mail questions that get forwarded to Wahy’s cell phone. Customers can also order parts online and have them shipped along with the bill to their home address. In some cases, buyers go through the process of choosing a car, applying for financing and arranging a pick-up date completely online, then show up at the dealer to pick up the keys and sign final papers, Wahy says.

Coastal Hyundai is considering other web site features such as online comparisons of different makes and models of cars, and it may eventually offer an online shopping cart to let customers complete purchase transactions online for parts or even vehicles, Wahy adds.

The web doesn’t replace in-person customer service, however. It enhances it, Wahy says, by providing more options for communicating with and serving customers and prospects. And that keeps them engaged and more likely to complete a purchase, he adds.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Groceries, Home Furnishings & Clothing Are Among The Top Categories Of Items That Consumers Prefer To Buy In Store

eMarketer is on a serious role lately in regards to pumping out the reports on how internet users are using the web to guide their in store and online purchases. Most of the below findings are not that shocking, but one in particular stood out to me. Specifically how women use online sites to research items ahead of time before going in store to buy. Other item categories that show bright points are appliances, groceries, cosmetics and of course electronics.
Cross-Channel Sales Suit Online Apparel
September 5, 2007

Finding the proper fit for Web shoppers.

How can shoppers get a sense of how clothes feel? The answer for most shoppers is simple: Go to the store. A January 2007 Accenture survey found that two-thirds of online consumers prefer to buy clothing in stores rather than online.

"Apparel is a big cross-channel shopping category," said eMarketer senior analyst Jeffrey Grau. "Traditional retailers who understand the consumer purchase process will develop strategies for driving online shoppers to their stores."

Despite a preference for buying apparel in stores, many online consumers like to research their prospective purchases on the Internet.

In fact, the apparel category is second only to electronics in the percentage of adult online consumers who practice this form of cross-channel behavior, according to a 2006 holiday season survey conducted by BIGresearch on behalf of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association.

All together, 32% of online consumers indicated they had cross-channel-shopped apparel versus 51% of online electronics shoppers. Shopping across channels for apparel was most prevalent among female online consumers (36%).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Ad Dollars Are About To Start Coming Online For Local Use

I love the eMarketer group. The sift through ALL the primary research out there and make useful, consolidated information out of it all. Here is an encouraging piece that talks about the future growth rate of online ad spending that is done with local intent. Always makes me smile, being that this is the business that I work in.
Online Advertisers Start to Think Locally
AUGUST 30, 2007

Who you gonna click?

eMarketer projects that local online advertising spending in the US will reach $2.9 billion in 2007.

Interestingly, that is still only 13.4% of the total Internet ad market.

"The promise of local online advertising, at this stage, surpasses the reality," said David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, Local Online Advertising: Measuring the Market.

"But a number of factors are set to accelerate growth in the market: the wealth of small and midsize companies potentially available as online advertisers, the increased use of local Internet sites and services by individuals and the development of local online ad networks connected with local media, such as newspapers," he said.

Local online advertising's share of total media ad spending has fallen slightly, year over year, according to Universal McCann.

By 2011, eMarketer estimates that less than one-third of all US ad spending will be locally targeted.
Spending will not match the time spent online. In four years' time, the Internet will account for only 7.6% of all local ad spending. "Nevertheless, as audiences continue to migrate online and away from traditional local media, such as newspapers and radio, it is only a question of time before online local ad spending catches up," Mr. Hallerman said.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Lines Separting Channels Is Beging To Be Erased Completly

The following article published by eMarketer unveils some new research that again reinforces the principal that consumers do not think of each unique channel as separate and distinct. Rather they think of them as all the same thing, with no difference between them. The real challenge is for retailers to embrace this view point and fully integrate all of their channels together into a seamless research/buying/returning solution.
Buyers Transact at All Retail Channels
AUGUST 29, 2007

Don't care how—I just want it now.

The distinction between online and offline retail is eroding, at least in consumers' minds, according to a Sterling Commerce survey of US adults conducted in June and July of 2007.

Sterling found that 55% of consumers thought it was important to be able to complete orders in a store, on the store's Web site or through a call center, regardless of which channel was used to initially place the order. Nearly two-thirds of consumers also expected to be able to cancel or modify orders through any channel.

"As retailers ramp up for the biggest shopping event of the year—the holidays—their readiness to address today's cross-channel customers' expectations could decide their success," said Jim Bengier, a global retail industry executive at Sterling Commerce, in a statement. "The cross-channel experience has created today's 'spoiled consumer,' and it raises the bar for every retailer."

Checking stock in different ways is part of why consumers like cross-channel retailing. More than one-fifth of shoppers said they check another store in the same retail chain for out-of-stock items. Nearly one-half said they look for items at a competitor's store, 13% order it online instead and about 20% decide not to purchase it at all.

More than three-quarters of consumers said notification of shipping and order fulfillment was very important to their online shopping experiences.

About 54% of consumers think that if a retailer is out of an item it should locate the out-of-stock item at another location and ship it free to the customer.

Mom Likes To Use The Web Before Making Purchases Online or Offliine

Here is a new study that shows a potential unmet and growing multi-channel marketing segment - Moms. It suggests that by better using online search to reach this audience real offline results can be achieved.

DoubleClick Performics recently released data resulting from a usage study targeting "moms," and completed in cooperation with Microsoft and ROI Research, which showed that of the nearly 1,000 moms surveyed, 89 percent use the Internet at least twice/day, and 90 percent have been using it for more than seven years. 86 percent of respondents said search engines are the most efficient way to find information.

The data illustrates heavy search engine usage in support of online purchases, offline purchases, coordinating travel and many other planning activities among moms.

  • 70% use search engines to gather information before making any online purchase
  • 57 percent use search engines to gather information before making any offline purchase
  • 64% use search engines to find out where to purchase products offline.
  • With regard to purchases made in the eight product categories under study, 92% of respondents say search engines were helpful in providing valuable information prior to purchasing, and 79% say the same for the offline purchases they made.

Stuart Larkins, vice president of search for DoubleClick Performics, said "... we gained a much better understanding of just how much moms rely on search engines to accomplish a wide range of tasks, literally on a daily basis."

Respondent demographics looked like this:

  • Respondents are highly educated and affluent
  • 46% of the moms are employed, with 26% employed full-time and 20% work part-time
  • The majority of respondents are between the ages of 35 and 49
  • 60% of the respondents have college or higher education
  • And about 1/3 of the respondents have HHI of $100k+
  • A third have a single child and 40% have two children at home

Key findings of the study include such things as:

  • Respondents spend the most time with the Internet and television. Three-quarters spend one hour or more per day using both the Internet and watching television
  • 76% spend one hour or more per day using the Internet, and 36% spend three or more hours per day
  • Respondents are heavy Internet users: 89% are online twice a day or more, and over two-thirds (69%) say their average online session lasts 16
    minutes or more
  • 95% have been using the Internet for more than five years
  • 97% go online once a day or more

Reporting on search behavior, the responses indicate that:

  • 86% feel that search engines are the best way to find information, and 89% always start with the same search engine
  • 82% will modify and search again if the initial results do not provide what they are looking for, and nearly two-thirds will view multiple results pages before abandoning a search
  • 57% primarily search using a browser toolbar
  • 40% say they will try a different search engine if their first search is unsuccessful

In the eight product categories included in the study:

information prior to purchasing offline specifically

  • 72 percent compared prices on consumer packaged goods (72 percent)
  • 71 percent used search engines to find retail locations for consumer packaged goods

Scott Haiges, President of ROI Research Inc., concludes that "... marketers (advertising to) this audience... should... integrate a well planned Search campaign. Sixty-four percent of women reported using a search engine to gather more information after seeing an advertisement,"

Please visit ROI here to get more information about the study.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Looking For Ways To Get People Into Your Physical Store? Provide Rich Information Online

Here is an easy way to lock in shopper to your store/brand. Provide a great, rich web experience loaded with detailed, up-to-date product information. The result. Well, according to the below research, 71% of shoppers that visit your online site will convert ion store, since those shoppers have a high degree of confidence and comfort with your store/brand already. Basically you meet their needs online, so these shoppers are using a simple mental heuristic that leads them to conclude that your physical store/brand will also meet their needs.
Survey Reveals Shoppers More Likely to Return to Websites, Shop in Physical Stores of Retailers That Provide Complete Product Information Online
NEW YORK, NY -(June 5, 2007)

The ability to research products online is very important to retail shoppers, according to a new study conducted for WebCollage, a New York-based company that provides content integration services to manufacturers and their retail channel partners, and retailers that do not provide their customers with the information they need to make informed purchase decisions risk losing these customers now and as they make purchases in the future.

In WebCollage's 2007 Survey of Online Consumer Product Research Habits, a full 91% of online shoppers polled said that they felt it was 'important' or 'very important' for retailers to provide complete product information to allow them to research products online. Shoppers, however, noted several current disadvantages to researching at retailers' websites. 44% said they felt retail websites did not have the most complete information on manufacturer's products. A third (33%) were concerned that retailer product content was out-of-date.

For retailers, the price of having poor online content can be steep. Shoppers who are not able to find the information they need to make a purchase are ready and willing to go elsewhere. In the search for more complete, up-to-date content, 37% of shoppers said they would visit a competitor's retail website to find the information they needed. Recognizing manufacturers as the best authority on their products, 55% said they would go to a manufacturer's website to find their information.

For retailers with poor product content, the cost of losing these customers goes far beyond the loss of one sale, though. While they lose customers, competitors that equip customers with the information they need to make informed purchase decisions inspire loyalty. 82% of the shoppers surveyed reported that they were more likely to return to retail websites that were able to provide them with complete product information to do research and make purchases in the future. In addition, 71% said that they would be more likely to purchase products in the physical store of the retailer whose website they had used to perform product research.

"WebCollage helps retailers establish their websites as important product research destinations for their customers. Providing complete, up-to-date product information from manufacturers helps retailers attract and retain customers at every stage of their purchase cycle," said Jed Alpert, Vice President of Marketing for WebCollage." And what we've found is that when a retailer establishes themselves as a trusted source of product information, this inspires customers to visit that retailer's website in the future for research and purchases and even helps drive customers to the retailer's physical store."

"With 71% of shoppers in our survey indicating they'd be more likely to visit and purchase from the physical store of a retailer whose website they had used for research, it's clear that there's a measure of trust and loyalty generated by providing customers with complete and up-to-date product information. There's a convenience factor for customers, knowing that when they see something on the Web, they can go into the store and get exactly what they saw on the website. Moreover, the survey reinforces results from WebCollage testing, completed across hundreds of thousands of consumers on retail websites, that shows when consumers see enhanced product information from manufacturers on retail websites their conversions increase by more than 80%."

About the WebCollage 2007 Survey of Online Consumer Product Research Habits

The WebCollage 2007 Survey of Online Consumer Product Research Habits is a national survey designed to provide insight into the product research habits of consumers that shop online. The survey was conducted in May 2007 via Zoomerang, an online survey services provider, and is based on 333 respondents aged 18 and over who shopped online at least once within the last year. The survey is sponsored by New York, New York-based WebCollage, Inc.