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.