Friday, April 28, 2006

More W2S Shopping Research Data

Here are some interesting results from a W2S study that Schulman, Ronca, & Bucuvalas, NY did for the The Olympian newspaper in December 2003:

- 2/3 of online adults engaged in Web-to-Store shopping in Q4 of 2004.
- Web-to-store shoppers say they saved an average of 8.1 hours of shopping time in the last 3 months by conducting online research before making local shopping trips.
- For every dollar spent online, Web-to-Store shoppers spend $1.60 offline.
Retailers prefer newspaper sites.
- Sixty-five percent of retailers report that newspaper web sites are efficient in assisting them in meeting marketing needs compared with other sites.

Nothing new or suprising here, but again just another source confirming all other research being done on this topic.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 Survey Finds That 37% of Consumers on Shopping Site Plan to Make Web-to-Store Purchase Within Two Weeks

Proving that what consumers browse and research online leads to actual in store purchases has always been a very difficult challege for anyone in the W2S industry. ShopLocal has tried numerous intiatives to help gage and quantify these types of purchasing behaviors. In the past, the ShopLocal team has looked at special W2S coupon redemption rates, bumps in in-store (physical) traffic, puchase data collected from private label credit cards, web surveys and a host of many other techniques to capture this elusive data. Well the team is at it again and by working with the Dieringer Research Group, it has come up with some very insightful information on how many people actually take action (eg make a purchase) based upon being presented with localized product and store information. Below is the full press release that was put out yesterday that has some finer detail of the survey findings:

Chicago - April 25, 2006: ShopLocal, LLC, the leading provider of Web-to-store (W2S) and e-commerce marketing solutions for retailers announced today that in a recent ShopLocal survey conducted by The Dieringer Research Group, 37% of consumers planned to make a Web-to-store purchase within fourteen days of visiting the site.

This proves the ROI on local shopping search and information," said ShopLocal CEO, Brian Hand. "The survey about speaks to a larger retail and search trend; when consumers are presented with relevant localization on the Internet, they feel empowered to go out and shop their local stores."

The average reported spending by survey respondents was over $250 and 70% of those shoppers purchased other products at local stores besides those they originally researched. Top categories of additional products purchased included "Food and Beverage," "Household Products," and "Health and Beauty." 30% of respondents also indicated that using the Web site influenced the selection of the bricks and mortar store where they finally made their purchases.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

National Retailers Must Embrace Localization On Internet

An interesting column in AdAge earlier this month stated that larger national retailers are going to have to begin to bend their marketing and web site efforts to meet shoppers growing need demand for locally relevant content argues. One of the biggest areas for opportunity is local search. Below is a short clip from the article that goes onto elloborate on the demand, growth and currently available technology solutions for creating relevant local search results:

"National retailers are also failing miserably in providing consumers with a relevant online local search experience. Industry prognosticators report that anywhere from 25% to 40% of the 5 billion monthly search engine queries are local in intent: A 2004 study by The Kelsey Group and, based on 5,000 online buyers, found that 25% of commercial searches were local. Another Kelsey study in December 2003 found that 60% of all searches were local in nature. And a March 2006 study by eMarketer found that "the growth of local search will outstrip national search in every year from 2005 through 2010."

Of course, Google and Yahoo pay attention to large numbers. Each is competing to develop local search results that provide relevant local information, including maps and consumer reviews of local businesses. For example, Google late last month launched a paid service that lets local advertisers place display ads for their businesses within the map that appears along with local search results. Search-engine upstarts such as Metrobot, which arrays merchants on street-level pedestrian-friendly maps, and TrueLocal, which winnows search results to actual bricks-and-mortar stores, are delivering on the consumer's desire to have a local Internet experience.

While most national retailers use search engine optimization techniques to make their Web sites pop up when a consumer types in their store name and a city, or a product category and a city, the payoff to the consumer is anything but "local." The consumer ends up at the retailer's main home page, where she must then search again for her desired product and then navigate to the store locator feature, which merely provides a map and telephone number.

Some technology companies are developing solutions that allow retailers to create more relevant local search results. For example, ShopLocal, Local Thunder and ReachLocal have each developed unique platforms-with different emphases-that allow retailers to create relevant content to respond to local search queries. The Local Thunder platform also features a technology that builds local-content landing pages that operate off the retailer's Store Locator feature and local search-engine queries."

To read the entire article, go to:

Consumers Searching Retailers' Local Online Circulars Grew 18.7% in the Q1 of 2006

Here is an interesting statistic that the analysts team here at ShopLocal came up with. Within the first quarter of 2006, as compared to the same period in 2005, consumers interest for local store and sale information grew at 18.7%. This clearly helps demonstrate that internet users are ever interested in searching the web for localized pre-sale information. Retailers that help equip their customers with this local pre-sale information are seeing the direct benefits such as increased in-store traffic and higher promotional sales lifts, as consumers are more and more doing their pre-shopping research and decision making online and then going into stores to buy.

To read the entire press release, go to:

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Target's Online Weekly Ad Site Finds A Way To Keep The 'Lights On'

Target during the week on 04/16 - 4/22 is running a very interesting concept. Instead of not offering their online guests any online specials and deals on their very successful online weekly ad site during a week were no regular Sunday circular/FSI was produced, Target took one another small step forward to bridging the web - to - store divide. The online marketing team @ Target decided to create unique web only content for this one week period. What makes this innovative is that the marketing department was not constrainded with the typical limitations of the circular print production process. Rather the team was able to explore new presentations of local in-store sale content to their online guests. I am really excited for this concept to catch on with other retailers as it opens up new doors for content creation and publication (by not having to follow the newspaper ad / FSI model of creating localized sale information).

To check it out, go to:

Friday, April 14, 2006

Multichannel Retailers Will be Bringing The Web Into The Physical World More And More - Forrester

Here is an intresting clip from a September 2005 Forrester Research paper that talks about some future growth predictions that mixed multi-channel retailing is in for:

"With more retailers offering the ability to buy online and pick up in stores — bringing eCommerce experiences into stores with kiosks and using the Web as a test market for new product lines — multichannel retailers do their share to introduce and hype online shopping to consumers. As store networking costs fall and retailers look for innovative ways to differentiate their store experiences, this trend will accelerate during the next five years, introducing eCommerce and technology to the masses. As consumers find themselves surrounded by technology in retail experiences, even some of the 30% of online Web buying holdouts will submit — fear and reluctance to use technology is the main reason that they don’t shop online today.5 Women make up a large portion of this group, and as they now outnumber men in the online shopping ranks, they buy from new product categories. The health and beauty category will grow at a 22% CAGR during the next five years, and the entire apparel category (apparel, accessories, and footwear) will total nearly $26 billion in 2010."

How To Leverage Multi-Channel Fulfillment To Produce A Seamless Customer Experience

Converged software solutions are beginning to make it possible for a multi-channel retailer to provide to their customers product information, customer service, shopping experience and order fulfillment throughout all areas of their business. While in the past, most retailers adopted a very compartmentalized approach to their online and store channels, consumers are now being trained to expect retailers to be able to do actions like: buy online --> return in store or order in-store via a kiosk --> get the item shipped to your home for free. The number of consumers performing these types of web-to-store (W2S) behavior will continue to increase, so there is now a real incentive for retailers to begin to offer these types of services to their consumers. My prediction still stands that ntegration of systems, channels and processes will continue to be one the key driving forces in retail over the next 5-7 years.

To read the entire store, go to:

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Shop Online, But Pick Up At Your Local Store

For years, the folks around my office have all deemed local in-store inventory information the "holy grail" of web-to-store shopping information. Well, Jeff Bezos would differ. He states that he does not see the value often times of providing consumers this type of information online as most larger retailers manage on-shelf inventories so well that most items are always instock. For the Wal-Mart's of the world out there, this is true. But when it comes to smaller niche retailers, knowing whether an item is availble in-store for pickup today before leaving the house is a powerful value proposition. Circuit City proved this with the recent (successful) launch of their buy online, pick up in store campaign. They claim about 50% of their web orders are being fulfilled through local brick-and-morter retail stores. This simple fact really shocks me that other retailers are not getting on board with this idea as a key way of leveraging their phyisical retail assets. Only time will tell...

To read the entire article go to:

Monday, April 03, 2006

What It Takes To Be A Leading Local Search Engine

Just read an intersting article that details some of the partnerships that is doing these days to build out its local search service. From pay-per-call, to reviews, to local shopping cotent seems to be gathering, organizing and making this fragmented information useful to users looking for relevant answers to their questions. Personally, I am most excited about the potential of pay-per-call advertising, as it is currently demanding costs from about $10 - $25 per qualifed call. That is some serious cash when compared to cost-per-click models that typical range from $0.10 - $0.60 cents per click.

For more info goto:

Local Search & Advertising Projected To Take Off In 2007

A recent blog post by Peter Krasilovsky (March 29, 2007 - reposted below) suggests that 2007 will be the year for local merchants to start taking to the net for advertising and search. As the tier one and two search engines jockey for position in this every expanding vertical, it will be intersting to see who ends up leading this market. While the IYPs appear to have an early lead, I am doubtful that in the end, these sites will be able to keep their market position, since the information they leverage is not all that unique. All in all, those sites that can tell you what to buy, where to buy it, what's on sale, what's for sale, and where it is available I predict will win out in the end.


ShopLocal, the women-oriented sales service from Tribune, Knight Ridder and Gannett, is breaking through on local and will see revenue from smaller, local stores outpace revenue from larger, national stores such as Target by 2007 , CEO Brian Hand told The Local Onliner.

Hand notes that the site gets 25 million unique users a month, and has been ranked by ComScore as one of the fastest growing sites anywhere on the Web. The traffic boost is the result of free print- and- online advertising from its partners, as well as carefully-placed SEM and SEO efforts.

Currently, the site has about 20,000 local advertisers. It is pushing to boost the count via local services directories, powered by Planet Discover. It is also getting heavy sales efforts by its newspaper partners, which include the TKG papers, as well as The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Houston Chronicle and The Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The site also benefits from additional distribution from IYP/search sources such as Switchboard, SuperPages, and Froogle Local (and consequently, GoogleBase). In all, it has 400 distribution partners, including 150 private label sources. “I don’t care if they know ‘ShopLocal’ as a name,” said Hand.

While Hand said that advertising is going strong, ecommerce revenue streams may take longer to develop. Rival StepUp, for instance, has been promoting inventory listing and product descriptions as an effective method for driving customers to local stores.

StepUp CEO Kendall Fargo told the Kelsey Drilling Down Conference that store owners are “very excited” about inventory lists. “Typically, they’ll say things like: ‘I never knew that product drove people to my store,’” said Fargo. Such capabilities represent a new generation of marketing for store owners previously under-whelmed by their return on investment from websites, and then search engines, he added.

But Hand countered Fargo, noting that “we’ve been trying to do that for seven years. Nobody wants to give you inventory.” Hand also said that 75 percent of products are “soft goods” that simply don’t require boosts from descriptions and images

Web - to - Store and Back Again?

Below is an intersting study that CoolSavings did awhile ago. Basically, they were able to prove that consumers where able to be prompted online to take instore action, and as a result earn the ability to get rewards back online. This multi-merchant and multi-channel promotional test is key to understanding what it takes to motivate and guide shoppers along what can be a fragmented and complex shopping experience of crossing distribution channels. The major take away that I see from this is that this type of promotion must be easy for the consumer and offer a very clear path to action and results.
From Internet Retailer 10-14-2004...

A loyalty program that goes from web to store and back again

An online promotion isn’t unusual. But how about a program that creates loyalty by driving consumers from the Internet to the store and back again, without requiring them to jump through multiple registration hoops? CoolSavings Inc. recently wrapped up a continuity program on a promotion involving Kroger, Quaker Oats Gatorade and ESPN. Shoppers entered the program online at participating Kroger retailer Web site. To enter, they provided their loyalty number and also had to be a member of Kroger`s Internet Coupons program, in which coupons selected at the Kroger web sites are automatically transferred to loyalty cards.

Buying any participating Gatorade products while shopping with the Kroger loyalty card allowed the consumer to automatically earn points that could be redeemed for Gatorade/ESPN gear. In addition to raising category awareness and brand awareness within the category, it gave Kroger the opportunity to pursue another goal: that of driving consumers to That not only introduced them to the site, but by registering and using their Kroger card, it allowed Kroger to launch an ongoing interactive relationship with them over time, says CoolSavings CEO matt Moog.

“Those consumers are now in the Kroger e-mail database, which CoolSavings manages for Kroger. Kroger is now able to identify their purchase behavior down to the product level. And using our technology, they can then target individual offers to those consumers using the electronic coupon infrastructure,” he says.

While Moog didn’t disclose specific results, he did say the program met or exceeded its objectives and that the retailer and the brands are interested in exploring similar programs in the future. “They are extremely happy,” with program results, he says.

Moog notes that grocery store sweepstakes and contests tied to specific products are typically implemented by requiring the consumer to cut something out – like a box top -- fill it out, and put it in the mail. On the other side, he points out, the process requires the fulfillment party to process what the consumer sends in, track and count it, and notify consumers by mail. “In this case, all the consumer had to do was register their frequent shopper card once,” Moog says. “They then get statements online telling them how much they have earned, and they can choose their award online and redeem online. It’s more effective for consumers and faster to launch and administer for the CPG brand.”