4 Truths Behind The Giant Apple Store Lines

In the era where most retailers are investing in line-busting technologies to reduce the idle time spent in the buying process, Apple is making sure the lines at their brick-and-mortar locations do not disappear.  Business Insider explains 4 reasons why Apple uses long lines as a marketing strategy tactic:

1) Lines have been part of Apple’s marketing strategy for some time

Over three years ago, people joined long lines to buy the iPad 2 at Apple stores around the world. These lines were even longer than those for the original iPad. In fact, they were longer than expected. What many don’t know is that Apple orchestrated these lines by not allowing pre-orders. They did not want a reoccurrence of short lines at Verizon stores when the Verizon iPhone was introduced.

2) Competitors making fun of the lines are only helping to promote Apple products

Competitors, such as Samsung and Microsoft, are drawn into the “Apple trap” by disparaging the waiting lines in their commercials. What they don’t realize is that disparaging competitors only gives them free brand impressions and free advertising — helping them to sell their products. Here are some of the many reasons why.

  • Free advertising
  • No reasons to buy your product
  • When you “put down” popular products, you are putting down the people that like them
  • Makes you look arrogant and insecure at the same time.
  • Puts a target on your back


3) The lines are forming, even if not spontaneously

While the early people in line for Apple products may have an agenda, the lines are already forming and growing. So are Apple’s profits. In spite of a smaller market share than its smartphone competitors, Apple still commands 60% of the profits. As Apple increases its distribution around the globe, its market share is likely to grow too. Many forget that when the iPhone was introduced only one major mobile phone service provider — ATT — sold the iPhone. The other big players in the US have been added in recent years and new deals with China Mobile and others around the world are expected to follow. This is likely to help Apple’s global market share.

4) It’s a great way to do marketing

As Apple has shown, lines are a great way to do marketing. When combined with the brand advantage of uniqueness built into all Apple products, these lines are likely to keep the Apple profit machine going for the foreseeable future. Of course, Apple will have to keep innovating. If it fails to do so, it could open the way for more innovative rivals to build a beachhead that eats into its share of the market and profits. Stay tuned. No matter what happens, it will be interesting.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/if-you-think-apple-lines-are-spontaneous-think-again-2014-9#ixzz3CpjezcU7

shopper marketing, the future of retail

Online shopping is the future. So why do so many Web retailers want to be in stores?

Over the past 18 months many web retailer pioneers, like Warby Parker and Birchbox, have discovered the old school benefits of opening up brick-and-mortar stores. According to the The Washington Post, “Having the opportunity to touch and feel our product is a big value,”co-founder of BaubleBar Daniella Yacobovsky said. While online shopping is becoming more popular, e-commerce still comprises a relatively small share of total retail sales.

View the article in it’s entirety: 

When online jewelry shop BaubleBar opened a brick-and-mortar outpost in Manhattan, the retailer quickly realized just how different its in-store shoppers are from its Web customers.

Shoppers suddenly paid more attention to un-flashy pieces often overlooked online.  More women bought multiple necklaces that could be worn together.  And perhaps most importantly, co-founder Daniella Yacobovsky said shoppers typically purchased three times as much merchandise as an online BaubleBar customer. “Having the opportunity to touch and feel our product is a big value,” Yacobovsky said.

After three years as an e-commerce darling, BaubleBar and many other Web retailing pioneers have discovered the old school benefits of having a brick-and-mortar store. Rent The Runway, which rents designer clothes by the day, plans to open a standalone store in Manhattan’s Flatiron district in September. Products from Etsy, a dominant online marketplace for handicrafts and vintage goods, will soon be available in independent boutiques and some major chain stores such as Nordstrom. Birchbox, thesubscription service that delivers beauty products to customers’ doorsteps, opened a brick-and-mortar flagship in New York in July.

Upstart online retailers have emerged as a major challenge to traditional outposts such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy. But many of these sites are looking for new ways to distinguish themselves amid the flood of competitors while growing their businesses at a time when e-commerce still comprises just a small portion of overall retail sales.


Now, many are taking a page from their traditional competitors by offering an in-person shopping experience that can’t be mimicked on a tablet or smartphone. When shoppers have a chance to test or try on clothes and other merchandise, they don’t have to agonize over a picture online and wonder whether it’s worth the investment. This heightened focus on in-store experience could be a sign that the retail industry definition of successful store is changing, analysts said.

“Retailers have to become much more agnostic,” said Anne Zybowski, vice president at consulting firm Kantar Retail. “My point of view is that convenience is situational. What’s convenient this week may not be convenient next week.”

Harry’s, the online seller of high-end men’s shaving products that recentlyraised $123 million in venture capital funding, set up its first brick-and-mortar outpost last year in New York’s SoHo neighborhood.  Instead of launching a traditional store that sells its razors and shaving creams, the company built a barber shop that co-chief executive Andy Katz-Mayfield said is designed to feel like a neighborhood store.

“It’s less about creating another channel to sell product,” Katz-Mayfield said. “For us it’s pretty different. It’s about providing a really great experience.”

Using a physical space to create a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience is core to what many online retailers’ say motivated their move into physical stores. Jennifer Hyman, chief executive of Rent the Runway, said shoppers at the company’s brick-and-mortar shops are able to get special touches not available online — including temporary hemming or strap adjustments as well as stylists’ advice that might steer them to new brands.

After launching a men’s apparel online retailer in 2007, Bonobos has found its physical stores essential. Known as Guideshops, the tiny showrooms allow customers  to try on blazers, suits and dress shirts.

That is key for Ross Martin, 27, who stopped by a Guideshop in Georgetown this week to make an emergency purchase of a suit for a wedding this weekend. His other suit was ruined at a wedding the weekend before and he needed a new one in a hurry.

“I went online to look at their offerings, but I’ve always had trouble finding brands that fit,” Martin said. By coming into a store, Martin said he felt more confident that he’d get something quickly that met his needs.

Guideshops have a small real estate footprint because they only carry one of each item in each size.  Customers try on the clothes, then place an order online with the help of a sales associate.  Within two days, their purchase arrives at their doorstep.



Bonobos announced in July that it plans to open 30 more Guideshops by the end of 2016, a move that will quadruple its store count. Transactions at Guideshops are double the average value of an online order. The company sells twice as many suits in Guideshops as on the Web and 50 percent more dress shirts. The company has slashed its online marketing costs in half as purchases have increased at the Guideshops.

Some online retailers have pushed into brick-and-mortar spaces by partnering with existing stores. Etsy has set up a wholesale marketplace that connects boutiques and chain stores with Etsy sellers.  The company will collect a 3.5 percent fee from retailers for each wholesale purchase order.  In some cases, in-store displays feature Etsy branding.

BaubleBar has launched partnerships that allow its merchandise to be sold in Nordstrom and Anthropologie. They’ve recently closed the New York store at their corporate headquarters (“We’re growing, we need the office space back,” Yacobovsky says), but the outpost was pivotal in helping the brand develop its strategy for brick-and-mortar shopping. Yacobovsky says they are continuing to look at other opportunities for selling goods offline, which may include standalone retail outposts.

Simeon Siegel, a retail analyst for Nomura Securities International, said that Web-first retailers may be on the leading edge of redefining how the retail industry thinks about success at brick-and-mortar outposts.

“Sales per square foot used to be the most important metric, and you’re now hearing managers shy away from that,” Siegel said.

In other words, the success of a store may judged less on how many dollars it pulls in and more on its ability to function as a marketing tool for the brand.



German grocer launches women clothing line

The traditional grocery store model is seems to be out the door in the UK. This week German discount supermarket, Lindl, will offer “high-end, on-trend” mainstream fashion apparel. Yes, that means when getting milk at your local Lindl store, you can also pick up a leather-trimmed jacket for £14.99. The clothing line is Lidl’s latest effort to draw in new shoppers as it targets avenues of expansion in Britain.

Lidl fashion

View the article in it’s entirety from The Guardian:  

German discount supermarket Lidl is moving into mainstream fashion as it steps up pressure on the UK retail establishment.

After successfully challenging the big supermarket chains on food, the retailer will sell its new womenswear range from next Monday – including a bargain-priced leather-trimmed jacket for £14.99. Shoppers will be able to pick up stretch jeans for £6.99, ankle boots for £9.99 and shirts for £5.99 with their groceries. A menswear fashion collection will follow in November.

Lidl’s move into what it describes as “high-end, on-trend” mainstream fashion is a contrast to its previous clothing launches, which focused on cheap but basic garments such as underwear, vests and childrenswear. The new fashion range will be sold in the same way as all its non-food items: while stocks last.

The clothing line is Lidl’s latest effort to draw in new shoppers as it targets avenues of expansion in Britain. The chain has already drawn in a wider demographic by stocking more fresh British meat and vegetables and freshly baked breads, offering luxury foods such as lobster at Christmas and introducing a range of fine wines. A combination of the newer items and low prices is winning over shoppers from traditional supermarket chains such as Tesco and Morrisons and even Waitrose.

The unbranded clothing range – manufactured in China and Bangladesh – will compete head-on with Asda’s hugely successful George brand, Tesco’s F&F and Sainsbury’s Tu, as well as discount clothing specialist Primark.

Josie Stone, non-food buying manager at Lidl UK, said: “This is the first time ever that we’ve done such a high-end fashion promotion and we’re hugely excited about launching these lines on 25 August. Not only are these jackets bang on trend for this season but they’re also £15 a pop, which is unbeatable value for such high quality . So we’d advise customers to be quick getting down to stores on the 25th because they’re likely to be snapped up very quickly.”

She said the highlight of the collection was the “leather” jackets – two in faux leather and a biker-style design with leather piping – which will go on sale at £14.99 each, cheaper than the faux-leather jackets on sale at the major supermarkets or even low-price specialist Primark. Also in the collection are skinny cut, cotton jeans made priced at £6.99, denim shirts in a light or dark wash and a chiffon shirt all for £5.99 each. Heeled ankle boots are available for £9.99 a pair.

Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst, said fashion was not the obvious choice for Lidl as the store will find it difficult to display a range of sizes, though the move into mainstream fashion will draw shoppers. He said: “If it’s cheap enough, then I’m sure it will sell quickly as throwaway fashion and £7 jeans should certainly fit the bill.”

Lidl and its rival Aldi sell small amounts of clothing but are growing rapidly in Britain as they take on the big supermarkets. According to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel, Lidl increased sales by 19.5% year-on-year in the 12 weeks to July 20. Its market share of grocery spending now stands at a record 3.6%, compared to 3.1% a year ago.

Anusha Couttigane, fashion retail analyst with Conlumino, said: “At the major grocers, fashion represents between 20% and 30% of the non-food mix. Discounters such as Aldi and Lidl currently have a healthy mix of health and beauty products. But if Lidl expects to see the kind of results that the likes of Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury are seeing in their fashion propositions, the proportion of space and focus in terms of strategy will have to be quite considerable over the coming years. Even then, it will not necessarily have the presence value-level fashion competitors have online or even on the high street. While it’s too early to say whether Lidl’s clothing offer will be a win in the style stakes, naysayers should probably exhibit caution. No one expected it to win wine awards either.”

But Richard Perks, director of retail research at market research group Mintel, cautioned: “This is taking what they are doing already and moving it on a step. This is about value for money and is about offering some excitement to the opportunistic shopper with a relatively small range that will probably sell very quickly.”Lidl, owned by the Schwarz Group, has ambitious plans for the UK. UK managing director Ronny Gottschlich has said grocery shopping in the country is entering a “new era” and pledged to grow Lidl from 600 stores to as many as 1,500. The chain now attracts up to 5 million shoppers a week and Gottschlich says new customers quickly become converts. He plans to open up to 40 new outlets a year – up from 12 last year – and believes that as the German chain makes its efforts to “become more British”, shoppers will stick with Lidl even as the economy improves.

• This article was amended on 22 August 2014 because an earlier version referred to Lidl’s fashion range being sold “until stocks last”. This has been corrected to say “while stocks last”.

Target’s Call To Action: Regain ‘Merchandising Authority’

Posted by Forbes

Target CFO, John Mulligan, took a wide range of questions on the company’s Q2 earnings call Wednesday morning. There are some positive signs amid apparent weakness.

Results were in line with what Target projected on August 5.  Sales for the quarter were flat, but improved every month, and actually turned positive in the last six weeks of the quarter.  Digital sales were up 30 percent, and mobile site visits increased more than 60 percent over last year. Digital and mobile contributed significantly to the company’s comparable sales.  In-store traffic continues to be down, but it has improved significantly from Q4 2013, when the data breach apparently caused it to fall off the table.

With regard to the data breach, Mr. Mulligan reported that all Target’s internal metrics indicate the vast majority of Target shoppers have put that disaster behind them.  Those metrics focus on consumer trust and confidence.  Any remaining customer mistrust was deemed “immaterial” to the company’s business results and expected to dissipate over time.

In Canada, Q2 sales increased 63 percent, but fell short of the company’s expectations. The company is planning what amounts to a re-launch in Canada, but Mr. Mulligan said there was still work to be done before Target invited guests to give Target another look.  Apparently, the original assortment in Canada was a subset of the US assortment, missing key items and categories the Canadian customer was looking for – specifically, unique products. In truth, that’s what the US customer has been missing as well. However, before the marketing re-launch in Canada, the company is working to improve its supply chain and systems to support a better in-stock position.



Picture taken approaching the Target store in West Hollywood, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In fact apparently store associates in Canada, loathe to look at empty shelves, had done their own re-sets within the stores to fill in the gaps.  This created cascading problems when new merchandise actually did arrive – there was no longer anywhere to put it.  So the company is working to re-institute corporate standards in stores.

Certainly there was a lot of talk about the current hyper-promotional environment in the US. Every retailer seems to have its own spin on the root cause of this promotional madness: Target’s take is flat wages in the face of inflated food prices. We can expect more promotions in the holiday season, even as Target recognizes it will put downward pressure on gross margin (and, I believe, also on top-line sales).

But in many ways, these are nuts and bolts, and not core to Target’s problem. The most important statements Mr. Mulligan made were the recognition that Target has lost what Mr. Mulligan called its “Merchandising Authority” and is taking steps to regain that authority.  Re-defining this Merchandising Authority will take some time: specifically, as we pointed out in an earlier piece, new product introductions can take from six to nine months.  The goal is to re-excite the consumer about the products Target sells both on-line and in-store. The company has already done a baby product re-set and is moving on to apparel.

Merchandising Authority is a very important term, and describes “old Target” better than any words I could come up with.  From TV ads, to billboards, to the actual products you’d see on web sites and in stores, Target was reliably edgy and chic. The battle for grocery dollars was part and parcel of the race to the bottom, and “recent Target” gave customers little reason to avoid H&M for clothes, or West Elm for home goods. There was not a lot of freshness there. In this case, it’s great to hear a company acknowledge its real problem.

There’s no doubt that we’ll see more promotions in Q4. The retail environment remains challenging, and the race to the bottom continues.  But looking forward to 2015, if Target can regain that Merchandising Authority, perhaps it can increase trips to stores and digital channels based on product freshness, while staying close on price.

Some may say “In a race to the bottom, the company with the lowest cost wins.”  I believe that those who stay out of the fray, and focus instead on innovative products and superior customer service always win. That doesn’t give any company carte blanche on price.  Products still need to be priced sharply. But it does mean that there are better battles to fight.  Target’s analysis is right on Target.




Birchbox’s 5 merchandising strategies for their first brick-and-mortar store

Not too long after the success of online retailer Warby Parker opened their first brick-and-mortar; beauty e-tailer, Birchbox is expanding out of the subscription box and is opening their first physical retail store in NYC’s trendy SOHO district, at 433 West Broadway. Co-founders Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna ensures that their first retail store is much different than the ordinary beauty retailer. See the 5 ways the Birchbox’s shop is bringing a unique in-store experience to their customers:

1. Merchandised by Category

Full-size products are organized by category rather than brand—meaning you won’t have to circle the store 100 times to compare pink nail polish. Beauty brands, typically require department stores and drug stores to group all of their products together in one branded display. But because of Birchbox’s relationship with the brands, they were given the OK for the new approach. 

2. SKUs are arranged the same way they appear online

Wanting to keep the omni-channel experience the same online and in-store, Birchbox’s product assortment is laid out exactly how it is displayed online. Allowing customers to keep the same shopping patterns when viewing products.  

3. Embracing in-store technology

Interactive displays are placed around the sales floor will allow shoppers to view more product selection, read customer reviews, view personalized recommendations, learn expert tips and watch DIY video tutorials. 

4. Personalized Service

There is a “Build Your Own Birchbox” bar where shoppers can custom-mix and select sample sizes of products for $15. 

5. Hands on approach

With the new physical store, Birchbox wanted to guarantee shoppers can interact with their selection of products, an experience shoppers can not get online or through their subscription. The store offers free classes and services like hair styling, manicures and make-up applications. For those shoppers who like to do it themselves, before buying, the store has set up “Try on Bars” 

Birchbox 3

From the Fortune article:

On a sidewalk in New York’s Soho neighborhood this week, two women’s eyes lit up as they approached the glowing front window of a new retail store from Birchbox, the company best known for selling mail order subscriptions for beauty product samples. “Store opens Friday,” the security guard offered. “You know the Birchbox?”

With her gaze fixed on the wall of pink cardboard boxes behind the glass, one of the women approached the window and snapped a photo with her iPhone. She was spellbound. “Oh I know the Birchbox,” she murmured hypnotically. Even as she walked away, her eyes stayed locked on the window.

It’s no secret that in three and a half years, Birchbox, has built up a devoted following. More than 800,000 women subscribe to the company’s monthly beauty sample boxes. (The company also offers boxes for men.) Half of them purchase full-sized versions of those items on Birchbox.com. They’ve written millions of reviews on the site, and watched just as many “haul” videos showing the boxes’ contents on YouTube. They will undoubtedly be just as excited about Birchbox’s next move, a brick-and-mortar retail store, which opens its doors today in downtown Manhattan.

Inside the store, there’s plenty for them to like. Birchbox’s approach to brick-and-mortar retail carefully mirrors the digital brand it’s known for. Editorial displays carry copy with a tone that matches the website, and there are iPads that promise personalized offerings. Naturally, the store’s pink, white, and tan color scheme matches the boxes it sends to its female subscribers.

Earlier this week, Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, the company’s co-founders and co-chief executives, showed off all the ways their store would be different from other brick-and-mortar beauty stores. For one, the company’s new store is merchandized by category, not brand. This would normally be an affront to beauty brands, which typically require department stores and drug stores to group all of their products together in one big, branded display. In the Birchbox store, items are arranged the same way they’d appear online, in sections like “BB Cream” (as in “beauty or blemish”) or “second-day hair products.”

Barna says the company’s sales associates were thrilled about this development because they no longer have to drag customers all around the store to show them different brands of eyeliner. The brands would have never agreed to it if they didn’t already have relationships with Birchbox, Beauchamp said. Moving from the online sales environment to an offline one—rather than the usual other way around—gave the company an advantage, she added.

Despite the many physical products placed around the store, the space leans heavily on the company’s online presence. The iPads placed around the floor offer more products, reviews, and video tutorials from Birchbox.com. A physical display in the front of the store shows a rotating inventory of the top online sellers, and a large interactive display in the back allows shoppers to input their attributes (hair type, skin color, age, et cetera) for new product recommendations using their finger.

At a counter in the back of the store, shoppers can put together custom boxes of beauty samples. Downstairs, across from a corner of Birchbox for Men products—which the company expects will be purchased mostly by women as gifts—is a Birchbox salon, where professionals offer manicures, hair styling, and makeup services. The company says it will play host to appearances from various beauty celebrities and offer free classes for subscribers on makeup techniques like contouring and nail art.

In April, Birchbox raised $60 million in new venture funding, which valued the company at $485 million. In its announcement, the company said it would use the capital to amp up marketing and possible international expansion beyond the U.S., France, Spain and the U.K.

Birchbox has since been flooded with incoming calls from interested landlords and realtors around the country, which Barna said came as a surprise. If all goes well in New York, Birchbox may expand to more brick-and-mortar stores. For now, the company says its Soho store will serve as an experiment to learn about the ways its obsessive and devoted customers interact with the products. Of course, it’s also a chance to win over any casual beauty shoppers who, for whatever reason, don’t already “know the Birchbox.”

campaign compliance is low, retail localization

Why the future of retail is exciting, not gloomy

According to a recent Retail Customer Experience article, the future of the brick & mortar store is exciting, not gloomy. From the article, Kristen Gramigna highlights four reasons way brick & mortar retail is here to stay.

As consumers have become increasingly reliant on mobile devices, consulting apps, websites and online reviews to help dictate purchase decisions, the future of brick and mortar retailers once seemed bleak. But, just as consumers tend to move through ebbs and flows that dictate their purchase frequency and brand loyalty, new advancements in mobile technology point to a new retail future that will bridge the divide between online and physical storefronts, giving customers the very best of what both “worlds” have to offer. Here’s how.

The end of lines

One of greatest hiccups in the customer purchase process for physical retail storefronts has been the inconvenience of waiting in checkout lines. But thanks to increased customer familiarity and comfort with mobile payment options, that challenge has been eliminated entirely. With contactless payment methods, customers who download a mobile payment-equipped retailer app are empowered to scan the barcode of an item they want to buy and complete a purchase from anywhere in the store, without having to wait for, or even interact with, a salesperson.

Personalization through technology

Thanks to Apple’s introduction of beacons (hardware sensors that wirelessly communicate with mobile devices within a specific proximity) earlier this year, consumers will increasingly become more familiar with “push” messaging that essentially acts as their personal shopper, suggesting and pointing out relevant items that might be of interest, as they move through the store. As consumers and retailers grow more familiar with the technology, its functionality will reach beyond marketing. For example, when retailers leverage BLE proximity beacons, customers can use a retailer’s mobile app to request the help of a customer service staff when needed. The beacon can, in turn, immediately locate where the appropriate employee is in the store and facilitate the interaction by sending the team member to the customer.

The “push notification” feature also allows retailers to capture customer feedback about their in-store experience immediately after the point of sale, so they can continue to refine their brick-and-mortar strategy to meet customer needs.

Flexible, guaranteed fulfillment

Identifying where to buy a product for the lowest price once seemed like an insurmountable divide between physical storefronts and e-commerce, but new research, such as that by consultancy firm Simon-Kucher & Partners, reveals that online shoppers may not be as price-sensitive as once believed. In fact, the Simon-Kucher data indicates that consumers actually turned to e-commerce for the convenience aspects of knowing a product is in stock and ready to ship — and having a finite date of when they’ll receive the purchase.

Now that leading retailers like Walmart, Target and Nordstrom have streamlined “buy online, pick up in store” business models into the mainstream retail experience, physical storefronts actually have an upper hand: Delivery is much quicker than through e-commerce, often allowing the customer to pick the item up in store within minutes of the online purchase. If the customer doesn’t like the item once they see it in person, the return and exchange process in-store is far simpler than an e-commerce model entails.

Reverse showrooming

Though brick-and-mortar stores have faced the challenge of “showrooming” (when customers visit a physical storefront to experience a product in person only to make the purchase later online) for several years, advancements in mobile technology indicate that the once problematic behavior now works in the favor of brick-and-mortar retailers. Though Amazon is the venue of choice for traditional showroomers, it’s become an even more popular destination for reverse showroomers who use the site for product research, but ultimately buy elsewhere, according to data from Business Insider. Reverse showrooming is particularly popular among this Millennials, indicating a shift in preferences of younger shoppers.

Provided that brick-and-mortar retailers understand and leverage the technology tools that will level the playing field with e-commerce to capture customer insights, message relevant offers, and provide the convenience and service that has made e-commerce popular, brick-and-mortar retailers are primed to emerge victorious in the battle for shopper dollars.

Playing out the World Cup in-store

Retailers notoriously spend millions of dollars on sponsoring large events, but when it comes to translating marketing campaigns in-store retailers fall flat. In an article posted by Talking Retail, retailers fail to deliver marketing campaigns at the most critical part of the customer journey, the point of purchase. With tough competition in-store, Taking Retail gives some pointers on how to make your World Cup promotion stand out against the rest.


From the article

Business has long known that big events can be an opportunity to drive sales increases – evidenced by the enormous sums spent on event sponsorship. Yet for a long time, such activity seemed to grind to a halt at the store door, says Danielle Pinnington, managing director, Shoppercentric. She writes:

Major FMCG companies would spend a fortune on engaging advertising for their slots during the events, but seemed to ignore the real opportunity available at the point of purchase. The notional ‘line’ that marketing was either above or below acted as a barrier, which meant that much of the goodwill generated by an entertaining ad could be forgotten once at the fixture because there was no reminder beyond the brand logo.

There is an argument that the store is a more competitive place these days than the average England match, so is this the World Cup that signals a more concerted effort to persuade shoppers at the fixture by tapping into the event itself? Will we see more ‘through the line’ campaigns that travel the full length of the purchase journey from trigger to transaction?

There are some promising signs. Tesco – who probably feel a bit like an England team at the moment – announced a series of World Cup exclusives in London designed to attract football fans, on top of the in-store marketing already appearing across the country.

What was interesting was that the exclusives aren’t just about promoting beer or snacks on the basis those are relevant categories. Instead it is about tailoring promotions to reflect the matches going on at the time – so Corona beer when Mexico are playing, for example. The clever chaps at Walkers should take some credit for this, as they were the brand who came up with World Cup flavoured crisps four years ago, sparking real enthusiasm among shoppers.


The big watchout, of course, is that if everyone is working hard to bring the atmosphere of the event into store, and to highlight the relevance of their product or category to World Cup supporters, there is going to be a lot of clutter for shoppers to wade through.

So, for marketing teams putting the final touches to their World Cup shopper marketing campaigns, we recommend you get out of the office, visit a range of the stores you are distributing to and look at your fixture and the store as a shopper, asking yourself:

  • Which brand or activity catches the eye – can your activity visually compete?
  • Which POS mechanics are being used – will your own activity be doing anything different?
  • How much additional noise is the retailer introducing to the store – how can your activity standout against that?

Admittedly there isn’t much time to make major changes, but by casting a shopper eye over the competitive environment it might just be possible to make the tweaks that get the ball firmly in the back of the net!

Facebook Mobile Ads Driving In-store Customer Traffic

Are Facebook mobile ads really driving in-store customer traffic?

According to an article posted by The Guardian research conducted by Vizeum and iProspect showed an 11% increase in store visits to ikea for those exposed to geo-targeted Facebook ads

Today consumers are more constantly connected through phones, tablets, eyewear and other devices than ever before. Retail analysts strongly predict, through these devices, customers are exposed to mobile ads, online coupons, blogs, geolocation  apps and online reviews which has influenced customer buying behavior. Retailers are quickly embracing omni-channel strategies in order to leverage online engagement to drive more sales in store.


From the article:

An experimental campaign put together by Vizeum on behalf of Ikea has given a glimpse of the potential for accurate marketing-spend attribution through the use of social network and mobile phone data.

The test campaign, conducted over two weeks, matched Facebook usage and EE data to measure the uplift in visits to the Ikea store in Cardiff from those who had seen targeted Ikea adverts on Facebook. The results showed an 11% average increase in store visits among more than 172,000 people who were served adverts, compared with an otherwise identical same-size group that had not seen the adverts.

The research measured store traffic uplift from those who had seen Ikea ads over a two-week period. The test delivered 1.4m impressions and saw the biggest impact among 22 to 25-year-olds: there was a 31% increase in store visits among this group. The 26 to 35-year-olds were up 11% compared to the non-exposed group. These visitors gave Ikea a return on investment of 6:1 against their media spend with Facebook, which was geotargeted around Cardiff and ran for two weeks during December 2013 and January 2014.

Phillip Dyte, paid social media manager at iProspect, the agency charged with executing the campaign, explained why this methodology was unique: “Together with Facebook, Vizeum and Isobar, we worked closely to serve News Feed ads to Ikea’s Cardiff audience, ensuring we reached a statistically robust number of unique local impressions. EE then analysed device activity within a geofenced area around the Ikea store – removing staff, people who lived in the area and passers-by. The resulting figures are really clean of misleading variables.”

When asked if the results were a product of the busy marketing environment during December and January, Dyte emphasised the unique methodology which makes this a fair test.

“When people raised the point that it’s Christmas and there’s so much marketing activity going on, our argument was that it’s Christmas for the non-exposed group as well. Everyone will be exposed to the same environment, so you’re not measuring artificial uplift that is caused by the seasonality, because the non-exposed group also has the seasonability. Anything that applies as a variable applies to both groups. The only difference is that some people saw adverts and others didn’t. It’s such a strong methodology – that’s why it’s so bullet-proof.

“This was experimental technology testing an experimental hypothesis. There was no guarantee of success. In the past you would have had to make assumptions and you’ve had to incentivise it using couponing or something, but none of that is really a fair test. But this is a fair test.”

These sorts of partnerships between banks, mobile networks and social networks to combine datasets such as these are becoming more common. Partnerships between mobile data providers – such as Weve, backed by EE, and supermarkets and banks such as Tesco andMastercard – are becoming more common. “Those partnerships are mutually beneficial, but they’re driven by tech which, over the last year or so, has advanced to the level which now allows us to do this,” said Dyte. “People are saying ‘Wow, this is possible now.’ “

Chris Gobby, head of EE mData, said: “We’re delighted to be a part of this innovative advertising effectiveness study with Ikea, Facebook, Vizeum and iProspect. EE mData has unique ability to deliver exciting new insights in the mobile space – combining anonymised and aggregated mobile web and location data to provide landmark results in advertising measurement.”

Richard Morris, managing director of Vizeum, said social media now plays a vital role in the advertising strategy for brands: “This study clearly demonstrates the impact that ads on Facebook have on brick-and-mortar foot traffic for retailers. These innovative strategies that combine mobile, local and social media for our clients are the future of digital marketing. The methodology is brilliantly executed, and the results show clearly, empirically, that Facebook adverts have driven real-world footfall.”

Staples Launches In-Store 3D Printing Experience

Retail is quickly becoming the consumer 3D printing scene, from the opening of MakerBot stores to printing 3D makeup, 3D printers are taking the retail route to go mainstream. The idea to open up the retail space so people can come in, look at a variety of printed objects or printers to buy. There is no better way to check out a new product than to experience it in person.

One major retailer just did just that. Staples is running a pilot with two stores, one on the east and west coast, where they opened up their retail space for customers to experience and interact with the latest 3D technology. Each Staples’ store features an immersive 3D printing experience center that lets consumers and small businesses create personalized products and use 3D printing hardware. Customers can also bring in their own 3D print-ready files to have them printed.

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3D Systems announced a partnership with Staples, Inc. in a pilot of 3D printing services in two Staples stores in New York City and Los Angeles.

Each Staples store features an immersive 3D printing experience center that lets consumers and small businesses create personalized products and use 3D printing hardware. Customers can also bring in their own 3D print-ready files to have them printed.

“3D printing offers enormous potential for small businesses, and by using Staples, they can print with the technology without having to invest in it,” said Damien Leigh, Senior Vice President of Business Services for Staples, Inc. “The test with 3D Systems will help us learn about our customers’ needs for a local 3D printing service, and how Staples can help them make more happen for their business through 3D printing.”

“Staples’ established reputation as a leader in home office and small business solutions makes them an ideal partner for testing out live, consumer-facing 3D print services,” said Rajeev Kulkarni, 3DS’ Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Products Division. “We have been thrilled with the retail experience and response from our audience, and the difference it makes being able to see, touch and experience 3D printing.”

With the new experience centers, both small businesses and consumers are able to learn more about 3D printing through demonstration areas where they can use design software and see 3D Systems printers in action. Each store will have a 3DMe(R) Photobooth from 3D Systems to capture customers’ facial images for the purpose of personalizing 3D products like figurines, and customers can also print personalized smart phone cases.

Each store has an expert from 3D Systems on-site, along with trained Copy & Print associates from Staples to help guide customers on their 3D printing journey. The items will be printed on site or through 3D Systems and shipped directly to their offices or home.

Staples previously announced in May of 2013 that it would be the first major U.S. retailer to carry 3D printers, with the launch of the Cube(R) from 3D Systems on Staples.com. The company has since rolled out 3D printing hardware and accessories in a limited number of stores, and expanded its overall product selection.

How Seeing More Increases eCommerce Engagement

At the mall shoppers have the opportunity to take only a few steps into a store to gain a visual representation of what items are available prior to committing to viewing the stores range in greater detail. That all important first scan of the store can be critical.

On the other hand, eCommerce traditionally does not provide shoppers with a comparative experience online.

ecommerce store display

Online Retail Display

Online stores have only limited screen space in the first view to wow customers and keep them on their site and looking for more. Ten to twelve flat images in a standard grid as a first impression for customers makes grabbing their attention difficult.

The customers who do commit to exploring more typically have to scroll through pages and pages of products to find images worthy of continuing their shopping experience on that site. This situation can lead to buyer’s fatigue, where shoppers have browsed so many pages of items that they simply lose interest and leave the site.

An online presence should excite visitors enough so that they not only return but they tell others about the experience they had.

So how can online retailers overcome this?

It’s simple. By helping your site visitors find items of interest to them quicker and allow them to feel in control by providing an interactive experience.

Research shows that images are the most important factor in the online shopping experience, more important even than price. When we shop we scan many items and allow one to catch our eye, tracking subtle factors such as colour, shape and position.

What does this mean to you, the online retailer, seeking new points of difference as online shopping matures? It means that existing online image galleries are counter-intuitive to the way people shop in real life. A static, flat 2D grid does not meet the needs of customers to visually scan and interact with products.

Interactive Display – Show more. See more. Sell more.

With interactive display by Show. See. Sold. shoppers can view an entire collection in an engaging and immersive way that triggers the eye/brain connection promoting discovery and a genuine connection to the products displayed.. It is based on how we as humans find things in everyday life, which had yet to be translated to online retail product display.

Shoppers can swipe, zoom, spin and filter a product range then click through and buy. Seamless integration means images and copy are always up to date and site owners can easily control what is displayed. Show. See. Sold is all about user experience and engagement across all devices from desktop to mobile.

The end result of this process is a material uplift in time on site, conversion and basket size, all achieved with a little help from neuroscience which goes to show there is more to increasing your online sales than meets the eye.