A theater gleefully kicks out disruptive customers. A clothing manufacturer urges consumers not to buy their newest jacket. A small restaurant opens its doors five minutes after closing to serve a meal to one family. What do these brands have in common? People remember them.
If the opposite of love is indifference, thousands of brands are unloved. Retailers routinely offer huge discounts to motivate consumers to purchase brands nobody remembers. And then, once in awhile, a business does something completely unexpected, something shocking that gets your attention.
How To Get It Right
How do you use shock effectively? Consider these three guidelines.
Know What You Stand For– Start with your brand. Why was it founded? What does it disagree with? This can help tell you what to speak out for or against. Stonyfield Farms knew thatagitating for healthy school lunchesfit the brand (as it did forJamie Oliver).
Craft Your Message– Sometimes, following your instincts leads you to surprise and delight consumers (as withButterfields). But then sometimes it can lead you to mock the Arab spring. Since the goal is to get your most enthusiastic customers to share your message, it pays to take the time to get it right. Getting outside eyes can also help avoid the worst potential fails.
Anticipate The Reaction– Even when a surprise tactic is successful, it will have detractors (read the Alamo Drafthouse blog if you doubt this). It’s best to understand what you’re getting into and know how you’re going to respond.
The truth is that most brands are boring. They don’t add to our lives or to the cultural conversation. Even when surprise is not executed brilliantly, it wakes us up. All publicity is not good publicity, but a brand with no stories is no brand at all.
Wal-Mart feels pressure to lower its grocery prices–and that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the industry.
Food costs are finally receding, for the first time since 2009, and companies like Kraft and Campbell Soup, as well as the stores that sell their food, are likely to use this long-awaited relief as a chance to discount items in hopes of boosting sales.
According to data from Nielsen, U.S. grocery sales volume has been steadily eroding since April, and that trend is expected to continue in to next year.
Imagine the future of the In-Store Experience. Imagine a Recipe Resource Center in the supermarket, where you can ask a permanently placed, highly educated foodie everything from time-saving cooking tips, and food/wine pairings to the best calorie-cutting ingredient swaps. Maybe the foodie gives demos and cooking classes during off-peak shopping hours to drive incremental traffic. There’s something Peapod and Fresh Direct can’t deliver. So the question becomes: is the program called “The Kraft Foodie” or “The Kroger Foodie,” this week featuring recipes from the Kraft Kitchen? Let the merchandising negotiations begin.
The survey examined 235 organizations in 19 industries, ranging from fast-food companies to credit unions and cable service providers.
The 10,000 U.S. consumers who participated were asked to rate their recent customer service experience on a scale from one (very dissatisfied) to seven (very satisfied). Temkin then calculated the score for each organization by subtracting the percentage of consumers who gave marks of one, two or three from the percentage who gave a six or seven.
Ranking higher than the supermarkets and specialty grocers was Dollar Tree, which recently raised the stakes on grocery competition by announcing plans to add refrigerated and frozen food to 550 of its stores this year.
It’s no secret that digitally empowered consumers are upending some tried and true business assumptions that the retail industry has relied on for years. After all, these savvy shoppers are more informed, more engaged in all phases of the purchasing process, and more enabled, thanks to the latest Web and mobile resources. So, long before they lay down any cash, they grab their trusty laptops and smartphones to gather product information and read online reviews from friends, family and complete strangers. As a result, they hunt for the best prices, even when shopping for luxury goods, and they have heightened expectations about the level of customer service they’re entitled to get from retailers.
Nearly 50% of consumers believe their personal mobile devices are more efficient than store associates in helping them make buying decisions, according to research from Motorola. A new study from Red Antconfirmed that many in-store employees possess a similar sentiment, and often go out of their way to avoid customer questions.
In fact, 67% of consumers noticed a lack of product knowledge from in-store associates, with 40% of people shopping online to avoid poor customer service, according to Red Ant in the survey of more than 1,000 store associates in the UK. Designed to identify store associates’ frustrations with their current positions, survey results showed that 47% of employees were unfamiliar with the products they were selling.
In general, food/drug/mass (FDM) and other consumables-oriented channels managed to attract slightly more shoppers than in July 2012. Warehouse club retailers performed best, attracting 6% more shoppers in July 2013—the channel’s highest index since September 2012. This growth was led by BJ’s and Sam’s Club, who grew their shopper bases by 1 percentage point (ppt) and 3 ppt, respectively (conversely, Costco’s shopper base decreased by 2 ppt). The mass and smallformat value (dollar) channels each earned a 102 index—though at the retailer level, the dollar channel saw the most gains. Dollar Tree and Dollar General grew their shopper bases by 3 ppt and 2 ppt, respectively, and 99¢ Only saw a 1 ppt increase. All mass retailers tracked held steady from last July, with the exception of Walmart (+1 ppt). There was some growth among supermarket retailers (101 index). Kroger, Wegmans, and Trader Joe’s each increased their shopper bases by 1 ppt. The drug channel remained mostly flat, though Walgreens did see a 1 ppt increase in its shopper base; the retailer remains the most-shopped retailer in the drug channel, attracting 35% of primary household shoppers in July.
The weather is a great conversation starter. Most of us have used it to break the ice during elevator rides and at parties. Retailers and manufacturers are using it for a different purpose: to drive sales.
When you’re running a retail business, the customers who spend the most in your store are valuable and magical creatures. Loyalty cards let you return that love to your customers. Sort of. Some companies are taking rewards cards a step further, rewarding their most loyal customers (probably the ones with the most money) with special perks.
After all, tempting big spenders with special discounts or free merchandise can’t get you far. They might not care about things that you can buy with boring old money, but what about special privileges that only people who have spent a large amount of money with one retailer can get?
Loyalty programs are transactional. Loyalty isn’t.
The you do this and we’ll give you that, transactional nature of most loyalty programs is a shaky foundation for any consumer/brand relationship, resulting in what some researchers have dubbed mere “deal loyalty” as opposed to true brand loyalty. The program trains customers to respond to points, rewards or incentives but does nothing to foster true allegiance to the brand. Let’s face it – if marriages were built like most loyalty programs, they wouldn’t be very gratifying. Consequently, relationships based on this sort of tit-for-tat dynamic tend not to be very sustainable.
The SEC asks the companies—which frequently tout their online prowess—to provide hard details about the amount of goods they sell online.
Such details remain scant across the retail industry, even though they are a big focus for investors. In the second quarter, Internet sales increased 18.4% from a year earlier, while total retail sales rose by 4.7%, Commerce Department data show.
Target, for instance, has highlighted its online performance, telling investors last week that its digital sales have grown by double-digit percentages and that it is "moving quickly to ensure we stay relevant in an increasingly digital marketplace."
Grocery shoppers are redeeming fewer coupons, and digital coupon use is growing.
Shoppers are still interested in saving money, but they redeemed fewer coupons in 2012 as the economy improved. Manufacturers who were stung by high redemption rates at the bottom of the recession are reducing the face value of coupons, and some retailers (like Meijer) are no longer “doubling” them
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