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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

How Traditional, Off Line Advertising Drives Online Search

Here is an interesting article that talks about the influence of off line marketing to drive people online. This is basically the reverse of the behavior that this blog and the rest of the research community talks about - that is the web's influence on in store sales. This is the flip-side of that equation. Basically, there is strong supporting evidence that this store-to-web behavior is a powerful force that needs to be dealt with when designing offline advertising. All parts of a campaign need to be integrated together. From web-to-store and back again via store-to-web. There needs to be clear "links" and actions that connect these different forms of advertising together into a consolidated marketing message that crosses the multitude of channels that consumers live in.
Offline Marketing Drives Search
by Gavin O'Malley, Tuesday, Aug 21, 2007 6:00 AM ET - Published by MediaPost

What is an often-overlooked yet crucial part of any search marketing campaign? Offline marketing, according to a study from search firm iProspect and JupiterResearch.

"We figured we'd see an even split between those influenced to search by offline channels, and those not influenced by offline," said iProspect president Robert Murray. "Needless to say, we were more than surprised to learn that a full 67% of online search users are driven to search by some offline channel."

What's more, nearly 40% of online searchers influenced by offline channels ultimately make a purchase.

Fielded this summer by Jupiter, the survey was completed by 2,322 randomly selected individuals from the Ipsos Insight U.S. online consumer panel. They were asked 25 questions about their behaviors, attitudes, and preferences as they relate to games, digital imaging, portable devices, and service bundles.

Among its key findings, the survey showed that offline channels clearly influence a significant percentage of online search users to subsequently perform queries on search engines based on the company name, product/service name, or slogan that appears in the offline channel's messaging.

"It's intuitive," added Murray. "It makes sense that offline channel messaging could pique a user's curiosity enough to motivate them to search for additional information. But most offline advertising doesn't exactly make it easy for customers to find a company's Web site."

Beyond examining the power of offline channels to drive search, the study also examined purchase behavior. Specifically, offline-influenced online searchers were asked whether they ultimately had made a purchase from the company whose Web site had been the object of their search. The data revealed that more than one-third did so. This translates into a 39% conversion rate, suggesting a synergistic relationship exists between search and offline channels.
"Search is no longer an add-on consideration for marketers," said Murray. "It is front and center."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How To Increase Basket Size Of In Store Purchases? Get You Customers To Research Online Before Coming To The Store

Here is a re-post of a press release that summarizes a study that once again shows that online ad exposure directly relates, and increase for that matter, in store sales.
Online pre-shoppers spend 41% more in stores
Wednesday August 8, 2007

Exposure to online advertising is fundamentally changing the way consumers shop, according to research from Yahoo! and comScore, which found that those exposed to online advertising tend to research their purchases online before buying, ultimately leading to increased in-store sales.

The study, which examined the impact of search and display advertising on in-store sales for five major retailers, found that these highly-engaged "pre-shoppers" spend an average of 41% more in-store than consumers who are not exposed to online advertising. mdockery This article is copyright 2007

Pre-shopping consumer opportunity
Although some research suggests that as many as 89% of consumers shop for information about products online, less than 7% of retail sales actually take place online, according to Amy Vener, senior retail category director for Yahoo: "This means that retailers have a prime opportunity to engage pre-shoppers through online advertising to boost incremental sales in-store."

For example, according to Dave Abbott, JC Penney's vice president of direct marketing, the JC Penney web site was found to be the company's main shopping hub, whether customers are planning to buy online or in a physical store. As a result, the company has focused on developing its online marketing and merchandising programs to better understand the relationship between customers' online engagement and in-store sales.

Key findings
Other significant findings of the study included the following:
  • Consumers exposed to online advertising are more engaged: Those exposed to display and/or search advertising viewed an average of 6 more web pages during the period in which they were researching compared to those not exposed to advertising.
  • Almost 90% of the incremental sales generated by online advertising take place in-store: Consumers exposed to online advertising spent an incremental US$6 in-store for every US$1 spent online.
  • Integrated search and display campaigns have the most impact: Combined search and display ad campaigns resulted in deeper engagement for consumers exposed to those ads, leading to increased sales.
The study involved a sample of more than 175,000 comScore panelists and compared the purchasing behavior of those exposed to online advertising with that of those who were not exposed but who were otherwise behaviorally and demographically identical.

More News That Multi-Channel Is Not Just A USA Trend

Here is another sign that the rest of the world (eg outside of the States) is taking notice of the multi-channel trend.
Lasoo Ropes In Online Shoppers
By Glenn Freeman | Wednesday | 2007-08-15

Salmat has launched, a central retail web hub connecting online shoppers with traditional retailers. The new site expects to cater to demand from around 5 million Australians who buy goods online.

Direct marketing and call centre company Salmat announced it will be launching the site in response to a perceived demand from shoppers who use the web to buy clothing, electrical and whitegoods.

Salmat Joint Managing Director Philip Salter yesterday told The Australian: "Right now there is no single place that they can go to perform that research.

" is an aggregated internet site that is fully searchable and browsable for consumer to quickly find what their local retailers are promoting."

He described it as a "web to store" strategy, seeking to link online shoppers and traditional retailers who are less likely to respond to the more traditional forms of advertising.

Salmat's move into the digital sales channel is part of a broader plan to increase the digital element of its business model, which has until now relied on unaddressed mail campaigns, call centre and other traditional marketing efforts.

It used the announcement of its annual results to signal its move into online retail – Salmat's full year sales for 2007 were $601.9 million, up 14.3 percent from 2006.

The business recorded net profit after tax of $44.3 million for the year to 30 June 2007, an increase of 69.1% over FY2006 ($26.2 million).

Joint Managing Directors Peter Mattick and Phil Salter said: 'This has been one of our busiest and most
important year's on record with many key operational and strategic initiatives implemented. We're pleased that we finished the year with strong sales growth of over 14% and our earnings in line with guidance."

Salmat's call centre business Salesforce was one of its biggest profit sources, with the increasing uptake of business process outsourcing driving it to produce $243.6 million in revenue, up over 35 percent on last year's figures of almost $180 million.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Shoppers That View Online Store-Based Specials / Ads Convert At 90%

Here is some really exciting primary market research that the team here just conducted (July 2007). These surveys were distributed across our network of online circular and catalog sites as well as on our national/local comparison shopping engine. The respondent number varies by question/topic, ranging from ~200 (for some very specific questions) up to ~2600 (for some of the more general directional questions).

Overall we found that the users of online catalog and circular sites tend to be:

  • Highly Motivated Shoppers. Shoppers who view on-line circulars are clearly “in-market” buyers, with a conversion rate of approximately 90% (about 50% bought during the week of the circular and another 40% plan to buy from the retailer within the next 3 weeks)
  • Prefer In Store Purchasing. In store trumps on-line by approximately 5:1 for SC shoppers, 10:1 for SL shoppers (in line with the general public)
  • Interested In Multi-Channel Shopping Tools. Shoppers are very interested (2/3 to 3/4) in shopping tools that will...
    • Notify them of a comparable product when their searched for/save one expires
    • Allow them to check-off purchased items (if it will help the retailer effect what is placed in future circular advertisements - eg making it more relevant to the shoppers)
  • Consistent In Which Channels They Buy From, Regardless of Category. Retail channels like consumer electronics and office products, surprisingly, did not have an appreciably higher on-line buying preference than general merchandise (for our surveyed shoppers)
  • Retailer Loyal. Shoppers were dramatically consistent about buying at the store where they viewed the item in the circular (90%)
  • Varying Basket Sizes. Retail channels like consumer electronics and office products did tend to be shoppers who “target buy” a single product. Department stores and general merchandise retailers did better with larger basket sizes, but some, who apparently do not appeal to shoppers across categories, did poorly.
  • Varying Levels Of Price Sensitivity. Categories like CE, office and CPG were very price sensitive (as expected). Price sensitivity across department stores, home improvement, general merchandise, apparel, etc, varied substantially by retailer within the channel.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Interesting New Ways Retailers Are Driving People In Store With Emergent Technologies

Here is a quick re-post of an article that was published by Internet Retailer that talks about how some of the new and emergent technologies are starting to be leveraged to drive in store sales. A lot of these ideas have not quite landed yet, but it is great to see forward thinking companies start to dabble with them anyways in an attempt to beat the competition up the learning curve.
Driving traffic from the web to stores
As more shoppers spend more time online—on web-enabled phones and other mobile devices as well as on Internet-connected laptops and desktops—new technologies are opening ways for merchants to grab their attention and lure them into shops.

By Paul Demery

The web isn’t just out for itself anymore. It’s also becoming a key partner to its old rival, the physical store.

As more shoppers spend more time online—on web-enabled cell phones and other mobile devices as well as on Internet-connected laptops and desktops—new technology offerings are opening ways for merchants to grab their attention and lure them into retail shops. And as many retailers and studies have found, consumers spend more when they shop across multiple channels—up to 50% more, according to JupiterResearch.

From an Adidas footwear shop in Las Vegas to the local Ace Hardware store in communities across the U.S., shoppers are arriving for products and promotions that they learn about online. Their trip may begin through casual browsing on retail web sites like, which recognizes a visitor’s location and greets the shopper with home page links to offerings in local stores, or, as with Adidas, through complicated marketing campaigns that coordinate outdoor advertising, cell phone text messaging and mobile commerce sites directing shoppers to nearby store promotions.

Bringing stores to life

“Our goal is to bring the local store to life,” says Dana Kevish, online marketing manager for Ace Hardware Corp., a retail cooperative of nearly 5,000 stores. “We’re making sure customers can find store-specific information whenever they want.”

The power of the web in directing traffic is materializing in an increasing number of ways and touching the store operations of all types of retailers—from large chains to single boutiques. In addition to Ace, retailers including Borders Group Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and high-end consumer electronics merchant Bang & Olufsen have launched online strategies in recent months that tie web site shoppers closer to physical stores.

And merchants of all types and sizes are tying in-store inventory to web-based services like NearbyNow and GPShopper that let consumers search for products over their cell phones and receive listings of local stores offering those products.

“We’re seeing a lot more integrated multi-channel communications campaigns, and over time they’re bound to get better,” says Jim Okamura, senior partner at retail consultants J.C. Williams Group.

But he cautions that while new online promotions to get customers into stores can cause spikes in store traffic and sales, long-term success in using the web to support stores will require consistency in web-to-store services and marketing. “There are all sorts of ways retailers are using the web to drive in-store traffic, but it has to be more than a one-off promotion to drive a steady stream of traffic,” he says.

Retailers should continue building on web-to-store campaigns and complementary support services, a process that will make both shoppers and store personnel more aware of the value of using both channels, he adds. is designed with geolocation technology to recognize an IP address and greet a visitor with a home page message about the nearest Ace stores. “There are 114 stores in your area,” a prominently placed home page section called “My Local Ace” tells a Chicago visitor.

A click takes the visitor to a Google Maps layout of the locations of those 114 stores; another click on a store icon switches to a page for that particular store, and here the visitor can get information on the store’s product lines and brands, special promotions, store-sponsored community events, and other details like hours of operation.

My stores

Borders and Wal-Mart are also offering new web-to-store services. A “My Stores” feature on allows shoppers to check available inventory as well as current promotions and events at individual stores.’s “In Store Now” feature provides information on promotions and events across the entire chain. Its “Site to Store” feature, which provides free shipping to a shopper’s Wal-Mart store of choice, is generating new multi-channel shoppers and incremental store sales. First-time shoppers place more than 50% of Site to Store orders, and the service has led to a 20% increase in the number of shoppers who spend an incremental $60 per order on in-store purchases, Wal-Mart says.

At, which expects to do about $10 million in sales this year, 70% of orders now are fulfilled through the My Local Ace store pickup service, which offers free shipping of online orders to a shopper’s store of choice and helps drive incremental store sales from online shoppers, Kevish says.

Tied to the store

“When an online customer chooses to ship an order to a store, we tie them to that store,” Kevish says. The online ship-to-store customer submits an e-mail address for order confirmation and receives marketing and informational e-mails from the store fulfilling the order.

The My Local Ace feature also lets a visitor choose a favorite Ace store to appear in the top right corner of the home page in a box featuring a store photo and street address and a link to a page that features the weekly advertising circular and sections on that store’s products and services, including any dated educational or community events involving the store.

Store managers log onto an internal Ace network to upload and administer their store’s online content, which is reviewed by the company’s corporate e-commerce staff and made live within a day or two, Kevish says. Ace operates the site in conjunction with GSI Commerce Inc., which developed and provides web hosting.

Room to improve

Ace plans to continue seeking ways to improve the system, Kevish says. It recently deployed customer analysis software from ForeSee Results Inc. to get feedback on how online visitors are using the My Local Ace service as well as other online features, she adds.

Meantime, Ace is planning to build tighter integration in its loyalty program to let shoppers view loyalty points on earned for store as well as online purchases, and it’s looking into providing online views into the availability of specific inventory in stores.

Bang & Olufsen recently expanded its web presence with a new online store on, where it hopes to expose its product line of mostly high-end consumer electronics products to a broader audience, says Kim Gravesen, president of Bang & Olufsen America Inc.

Products offered on the Amazon site are less costly and easier to install than many of the products on Bang & Olufsen’s site or in its 54 stores. But by complementing the Amazon shopping experience with personalized communications from stores, the retailer expects to transform some of its new online shoppers into customers of its broader product line offered in stores, such as home theater systems, Gravesen says.

“We’re getting good traffic on Amazon and getting exposed to new customers who may not have been familiar with us, and it’s already beginning to increase the customer base of our stores,” he says.

Bang & Olufsen credits an online shopper’s nearest store by ZIP code for online purchases and has set a policy under which managers of those stores send the customer a personal welcome note letting them know about store products and services. “We recommend hand-written envelopes,” Gravesen says. “We ship from a central warehouse, so the store doesn’t have to do anything, just care for the customer after the sale.”

M-commerce for all

Merchants also are opening up new strategies through mobile commerce.

At the Las Vegas Adidas shop, a campaign coinciding with the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Game earlier this year lured enough visitors to sell out all 200 pairs of running shoes in a special All-Star promotion within an hour of when shoppers first received a cell phone alert, says Gene Keenan, vice president of mobile services for Isobar International, which oversaw the campaign.

The campaign, based on mobile marketing technology from Neighborhood America, directed shoppers to an Adidas mobile web site with information about the store promotion. A surge of customers continued past the brief promotion. “Store sales went up 25 times over a normal weekend,” he says.

While the Adidas campaign focused on a specific promotion, other online services assist large numbers of retailers through new forms of search marketing. Organizations like ShopLocal LLC and StepUp Commerce Inc. let consumers search the Internet for products in local stores, and now mobile search is letting shoppers search store offerings through web-connected cell phones.

Since last summer, NearbyNow has signed up most if not all stores at more than 80 shopping malls across the U.S. for its web site and mobile search programs, which let shoppers search mall store inventory on mall web sites powered by NearbyNow as well as through cell phone-text messaging, says CEO Scott Dunlap. “We can have tens of thousands of shoppers per mall browsing through hundreds of thousands of products in local store inventory,” he says.

NearbyNow alerts mall shoppers to the online search options on mall signage that announce “Find every sale, find every product,” and it provides mall kiosks for browsing on a mall’s NearbyNow web site. Signs also instruct shoppers how to send a cell phone text message to NearbyNow to receive lists of stores offering those products. NearbyNow lets retailers view real-time data and analytical reports on the number of shoppers searching a particular mall’s products, and it enables merchants to use that information to send instant in-store promotions to cell-phone carrying mall shoppers.

NearbyNow receives daily or twice-weekly inventory data from each participating retailer, depending on how often a merchant updates its inventory. Retailers have several options to send their data—over the web via automated XML feeds or FTP files, or fax transmissions—to NearbyNow, which keeps the information in a web-based database that supports both the web site and mobile product searches. NearbyNow earns revenue by selling ads from retailers posted to mall web sites and sponsored listings in mobile searches and charging fees to access analytical data.

I need bluejeans, now

GPShopper also offers mobile search of products in local stores, but it’s not limited to malls. Using its Slifter mobile shopping software, which it makes available for a free download to a cell phone, shoppers can search a web-based database among 65 million products in some 20,000 retail stores. Shoppers key a ZIP code into the Slifter program, search for a particular type of product, like bluejeans, and receive listings of the closest participating stores offering bluejeans.

Merchants eyeing mobile commerce as a tool for bringing shoppers into stores should figure out ways to build customer databases of cell phone numbers, such as with in-store promotions and suggestions from store personnel, says Patti Freeman Evans, a retail analyst for research and advisory firm JupiterResearch.

Indeed, that same kind of strategy—only in maintaining databases of customer e-mail addresses—has become crucial to successful strategies of tying web sites to physical stores, she adds. And by maintaining multiple means of connecting with shoppers, and coordinating web site and mobile promotions along with store activity, retailers stand to build the most rewarding relationships with customers, experts say.

“It all has to come together,” Okamura says. “That’s when you’ll have something that really works.”

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Innovative Local Promotional Content Integration With Staples &

OK. So if you are interested, here is how to navigate to a really innovative program that mashes up the local promotional circular content for Staples and places this content in a highly integrated manner within a top tier publisher web site - Hat's off to the Staples and Beyond Interactive team for stepping out and taking a risk and being innovative. It's great to see a leading edge advertiser and agency that want more than search terms and display ads, and are looking for ways to reach their customers in an authentic manner right where they are. I really see this as a great step forward in blending advertiser content with publisher content. It's the concept of the 'AdZine' right? Part advertising, part useful information. Sounds like a recipe for some serious success.

So once you are at the homepage of the site (, click on the 'All Tools' tab to get things started...

Then click on the 'Staples' section within this menu...

That will bring up a Staples online circular specific navigational element. You then need to pick either a brand of interest (first drop down) or a category of interest (second drop down)...

Once you select what local circular content you want to view, you will finally get the rich localized promotional content brought back right within the overall site shell.

Are Consumers Using Online Or Offline Sources Of Information?

One more quick post from a nugget of knowledge from Greg Sterling. The below chart shows that consumers are inclined to use both offline and online sources of information. This really speaks to the fact that retailers need to equip consumers with valuable research type information across both store and online channels. It is not a question of which one, rather it needs to be both - always.

Source: Yahoo!-OMD (2006) n=4,301 US adults

The Proof Is Always In The Numbers

Here is some more empirical confirmation data points that the ever entertaining and omni-blog present Greg Sterling (from Sterling Market Intelligence) just shared with the group here at the conference...
  • 89% of consumers making in-store purchases in key categories have conducted online research prior to purchase (source: BIGResearch)
  • Major Yahoo consumer study: 88% of sales revenue generated from online advertising budgets of participating retailers came from in-store purchases (source: Yahoo!-comScore 2006 - 2007)
  • 92% of Internet/search influenced consumer electronics purchases happened in local stores (source: TMG Directional Marketing 2007)
  • 82% of the people using local search sites follow up their research with offline action (source: TMG Directional Marketing 2007)

Where Do People Turn For Online Research?

Here is some information that Greg Sterling just shared with the group here at the conference that helps shed some light on what sources of information online do consumers turn when researching products online.

Source: MORI Research for the NAA (2006) n=4,020 US adults

Multi-Channel Is A Global Behavior

Here is a new release that came out yesterday that is covering a new company that is based in India. It talks about how this online shopping firm is helping connect consumers to local in-store deals, and it appears that this is somewhat measurable by the use of coupons., the first company to offer coupon based discounts in India, has added Fedders Lloyd to their retailer network in India. This partnership helps customers buy Fedders Lloyd Air Conditioner, Lloyd Microwave Owen, Lloyd DVD Player etc. in Bangalore and Delhi at discounted price.

Through, shoppers in India can now access a database of discount coupons and offer coupons. The growth of the OffersForShoppers Network is proof to consumer demand for an online shopping tool. The click and brick model is gaining prominence in India" says Kumar Setu, CEO of OffersForShoppers. gathers information about various offers, sales and discounts in India for shoppers who use the Internet to research information before they go to a local shop and buy. Users can create email alerts for the items they are interested in and OffersForShoppers will alert the users when a discount on that item starts. Customers can then print the coupon and show it to shop owners and avail discounts in Bangalore and Delhi.

Shoppers can search by store or product within a specific area in the city. They can find deals at local shops as well as malls. These include Apparels Sale, Discounts on Health and Fitness, Home D├ęcor Coupons, Discounts on Travel, Discounts on Food and Groceries, Sale of Electronics, Discounts of FMCG etc.

For shop owners in Bangalore and Delhi, is the easiest way to reach the more tech savvy shoppers in Bangalore and NCR. They don’t have to spend money on various advertisement mediums when a sale or offer starts at their store.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ways Retailers Have Historically Attempted To Measure

Just heard Sucharita Mulpuru (Senior Analyst, Forrester Research) just speak, and she shared a very interesting chart from a study that and Forrester conducted. It shows some of the wonky and/or complicated ways retailers have tried to measure multi-channel shopping. Interestedly enough, her conclusion was that the easiest and arguably most effective way of measuring this type of behavior are simple and focused surveys. Yes, not glamorous but it is fast and relatively low cost to perform.

Overall Ad Spending Does NOT Match Up Against Consumer Behavior

This research really excites me. What this means for those that are in the online space that are trying to get media dollars moved over from traditional sources, there is hope. It will take time, but markets are efficient and they will come to a balance or equilibrium state.

The below chart from Morgan Stanley shows how advertising vehicles like radio and especially the internet have a huge imbalance of media spent on them compared to the amount of time (usage) that the audience is spending with that media type. For the overall US media audience, the ratio is about 4.7x. Looking just at the US youth media audience, this ratio moves up to about 11.3x

Source: Morgan Stanley, SRI-Knowledge Networks, Universal McCann, Internet Advertising Bureau, Veronis Suhler

Consumer Can Change Their Media Usage Behavior

Here is an interesting chart from Forrester that shows the amount of time that people spend online. It really demonstrates that consumers are changing their behavior. Probably old news to most of you, but maybe it's a good reinforcement of what is considered common knowledge.

Why Display Ads &Search Ads Should Be BFF (Best Friends Forever)

The below new research from Yahoo! & comScore exactly fits with some older research (click for the PDF version of this Atlas study) that the Atlas Institute published in July 2006 found a 22 percent increase in conversions when users were exposed to an advertiser's search as well as display ads, rather than only to the search ad. The range of a lift in conversions was 20-65 percent among eight of the 11 advertisers studied; there was no discernible effect on the remainder. The study examined the behavior of 1.8 million and found a 44 percent overlap of users seeing search and display ads from the same advertiser.

Search, Display Ad Combo Best At Driving Store Sales
By Tameka Kee - July 31, 2007

New research from Yahoo! and comScore found that retailers who targeted consumers with both search and display ads got the most bang for their buck--as the combination yielded greater increases in converting researchers to purchasers, average amount spent per consumer, and total in-store revenue than either method alone.

The study, titled "From Clicks to Bricks: The Impact of Online Pre-Shopping on Consumer Shopping Behavior," compared the purchasing behavior of more than 175,000 comScore panelists over a period of eight months--an unexposed control group and a group that had been exposed to ads from five major retailers, including JC Penney and Office Max.

Retailers saw an 83% lift in dollars spent per in-store purchase from consumers who saw both display and search ads, compared to 26% and 11% lifts from search or display ads, respectively.

They saw a 90% lift in incremental in-store revenue overall from the combination, in contrast to the 43% and 15% increases from search or display.

During the course of the study, Yahoo says that the campaigns generated more than $10 billion in total revenue for their advertising partners--nearly a quarter of which was incremental.

The study also found that a joint display and search campaign was more effective at converting online researchers to in-store purchasers--as the combination pushed 43% more in-store purchases than search (26%), or display (6%) alone.

Display's effectiveness at driving in-store activity lagged far behind search in all categories, but when it came to increasing online user engagement, the two methods had similar lift rates, with display ads increasing the number of page views by 37% compared to search's 46%.

The combination of the two still trumped both ad types on their own--causing a 68% increase in pages viewed on the retailer's own Web sites.