Digitizing Your Brick and Mortar: Where to Start

If you’re looking to bring digital into your brick and mortar, but don’t know where to start…. don’t worry, you’re not alone. With the ever-changing digital landscape and expectations of today’s always-on connected shoppers, retailers everywhere are facing the same challenge. So, where do you start?

The simplest answer is that in-store digital should be leveraged to solve a current problem. Today’s consumers are more informed than ever before and are mobile focused. They have higher retail experience expectations and demand personalization. Digital technology can come in a variety of forms to meet these needs, but without a clear objective, even the best technology can have low adoption by your staff and customers.

Digital can be a solution when you need to:

  • Reframe your customer’s experience – from neutral or negative to positive
  • Create an immersive environment – make your customer’s aware of their options
  • Empower your staff – reduce turnover and instill trust to your team
  • Integrate the technology systems and channels – connect the in-store experience to the pre and post store visits

Whether you are looking to bring in digital display screens, data capture technologies, mobile order and pay, digital check-in, interactive selling or simply wish to improve your customer’s in-store experience through their mobile device, bringing digital in-store does not have to be daunting. The first step is to determine what problem digital may help solve based on your needs and budget.

There is no digital “silver bullet.” First set your goal, then evaluate various digital technologies to find what’s best for you and your brand. Identify what you can learn from digital and develop a measurement plan.

And remember, “going digital” does not mean your traditional signage should be removed. A balance of the two can create an optimum in-store experience.

 

Written by: Dan Chiado, TPN Account Director

 

 

 

The Four Slides You Need to Know: EMERGE Partner SM(ART) Conference

 

Last month a few of us from TPN had the chance to attend an all Omnicom agency summit called Emerge: Partner Sm(art).  Emerge focused on digital trends and creating more impactful marketing programs through partnerships with industry thought leaders like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, Vice and Yahoo!.  Knowing it’s hard to get away from the desk for two days, I wanted to share a few key themes from those presentations (spoiler alert, mobile is a key focus).  So here are The Four Slides You Need to Know.

 

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Mobile, mobile, mobile.

There is a seismic shift towards Mobile driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones. As smartphone penetration continues to rise, so will the percentage of the population that is “mobile dominant” or “mobile first”. While only 18% of smart phone users are “mobile dominant” currently, that percentage is estimated to grow to over 70% within the next five years.

 

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Rise of the “Phablet”

Engagement time grows with screen size. This means mobile engagement time is on the rise since Phablets (phone + tablet, think iPhone 6+) experienced a +148% growth in usage.  Phablets in many cases are replacing what we traditionally used tablets for, with full size tablets decreasing by -20%. The rise of the Phablet creates opportunities for richer, more engaging mobile experiences.

 

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Mobile is the Platform, Video is the Medium.

Digital video consumption is on the rise.  18-64 year old Americans doubled their digital video habits while Facebook and Instagram alone saw a 75% growth year over year in video consumption, growing to over 3 billion video views per day.  Mobile is making a big impact; of those 3B video views per day on Facebook and Instagram, an astounding 65% came from mobile.  Part of digital video consumption’s growth is driven by the growth of Over the Top Television (OTT) – services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, or HBO Go.  OTT has given more control and customization to consumers while also allowing for a connected experience across multiple internet enabled devices.

 

 

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Apps on Apps on Apps

Mobile apps are where we tend to spend the majority of our mobile time.  For app creators, getting on the device seems like the holy grail but staying on it may be equally as hard, as new app downloads are in part driven by replacement.  While 53% of new app downloads are motivated by a need for a specific task, 49% are to replace an existing app.  Of those replacing apps, 34% say they replace apps weekly and 52% replace them monthly.

 

JSE

 

Valentine’s Day Gets a Facelift

Millennials, described as “confident, connected and open to change” by PewResearch, are living up to their characteristics according to TPN’s Seasonal Pulse New Year 2014 study.

Among all generations, millennials are the most likely group to “change it up” this Valentine’s Day. Thirty percent of millennials are planning to celebrate the romantic holiday differently than last year (see graph below), providing a huge opportunity for marketers to influence their plans – especially if millennials are trying to impress a new special someone.

Further, 21 percent of millennials plan to stay home and cook a special meal this Valentine’s Day. As notorious foodies who are always online, millennials will be hunting down new meal inspirations across social media and the web. Grocery retailers and online brands should be targeting this generation as they plan for their night in.

While 29 percent of millennials do plan on going out for a meal, those staying in, including myself, won’t have to make a last-minute reservation or spend an arm and a leg on food. Maybe it’s me, but I think millennials may be on to something.

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Source: TPN Seasonal Pulse, New Year 2014

For more information regarding TPN and our Seasonal Pulse findings, please visit www.tpnretail.com.

Retail Technology Takes Consumer Tracking To The Next Level

As the variables impacting shopper behavior continue to increase and diversify, retailers want to know more and more about their shoppers to keep them shopping and coming back for more. Online, retailer and e-commerce websites can track and get to know shoppers through a plethora of tactics (i.e. bread crumbs, click-throughs, mouse hovers, shopping carts, favorites, cookies and social media, just to name a few). In-store, loyalty programs have been around for years that enable retailers to collect data about shoppers’ habits. Many shoppers have caught on, connecting the ads they see online to their search habits or the catalina coupon printed at the register for brand X because they bought brand Y the week before.

Theories behind shopper behavior have been driving retailer research and exploration for years. Technology is now enabling the testing and observation of such theories in store on a whole new level. Today, retailers are experimenting with various technology in-store in an effort get more well-rounded snapshots of their shoppers and to bring those tactics for data collection on par with the depth of data that can be reaped online.

The New York Times recently covered this subject with an overview of an experimental tracking system at Nordstrom, which tracked customer movements via the Wi-Fi signals from their smartphones. Nordstrom posted a sign alerting customers of the experiment and ultimately ended the experiment in May 2013, in part because of the complaints.

“Way over the line,” one consumer posted to Facebook in response to a local news story about Nordstrom’s efforts at some of its stores. Nordstrom says the counts were made anonymous. Technology specialists, though, say the tracking is worrisome.
“The idea that you’re being stalked in a store is, I think, a bit creepy, as opposed to, it’s only a cookie — they don’t really know who I am,” said Robert Plant, a computer information systems professor at the University of Miami School of Business Administration, noting that consumers can rarely control or have access to this data.
Some consumers wonder how the information is used.
“The creepy thing isn’t the privacy violation, it’s how much they can infer,” said Bradley Voytek, a neuroscientist who had stopped in at Philz Coffee in Berkeley, Calif. Philz uses technology from Euclid Analytics, of Palo Alto, Calif., the company that worked on the Nordstrom experiment, to measure the signals between a smartphone and a Wi-Fi antenna to count how many people walk by a store and how many enter.
Still, physical retailers argue that they are doing nothing more than what is routinely done online.
“Brick-and-mortar stores have been disadvantaged compared with online retailers, which get people’s digital crumbs,” said Guido Jouret, the head of Cisco’s emerging technologies group, which supplies tracking cameras to stores. Why, Mr. Jouret asked, should physical stores not “be able to tell if someone who didn’t buy was put off by prices, or was just coming in from the cold?” The companies that provide this technology offer a wide range of services.

The article goes on to discuss several companies that are on the leading edge of these new technologies. RetailNext, one such company, uses multiple layers of technology, such as video footage to study shopper navigation and differentiate individuals, smart phone WiFi pings to pinpoint where a shopper is in the store, and mobile device identification codes to identify repeat shoppers and their frequency of shopping. RetailNext can help retailers collect this data to ultimately impact the design of their stores, such as display placement in relation to the shopper path recorded.

Just last week, an European outdoor advertising firm kicked off ads using face detection technology, OptimEyes. This technology promises to enable advertisers to know the number of people seeing their ads and the kinds of people specifically, identifying them by gender and approximate age. According to Todd Wasserman at Mashable:

Amscreen, which has a network of more than 6,000 screens in Europe in gas stations and convenience stores, is using the technology to let advertisers see the results of their ad spends. Such ROI data is common for online ads, but has proved elusive for more traditional forms of advertising, like outdoor and TV… The company isn’t alone in looking to Minority Report-like face detection as a solution for advertising ROI. Last year, Microsoft filed a patent for Kinect that would let advertisers know how many people were using the product at any given time. A company called EyeSee manufactures mannequins for retail stores that use face detection to let retailers assess their traffic.

This area of technology will continue to develop and further push the line. How shoppers will react or adapt to these tactics as they become more main stream remains to be seen. Take into consideration that there are several factors at play here. Some technology gathers data purely through observation, some gather data through submission (think app downloads and email sign ups) and others gather data building off other technology (like smartphones). With that said, some shoppers are participating in the data collection voluntarily, perhaps in hope of a coupon or special sale, while others feel a heated aversion to such tactics and consider any range of these techniques a violation of privacy.

However, I can’t help but wonder if that as generations of shoppers shift and as millennials, who are so accustomed to sharing everything about themselves, grow older, this aversion will become less and less. Until then, as the boundaries of privacy become blurrier and the avenues for retail continue to blossom into more areas of daily life, retailers will have to walk a fine line of learning all they can about their shoppers through technology while not alienating them by trying to learn too much.

Marketing + Technology

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to attend the kickoff event for Internet Week New York, a week-long celebration of New York’s internet and tech industry, titled Marketing + Technology: The Rise of CMO-CIO Alignment. The event focused not just on how technology was changing the way brands and advertisers market their goods and services, but also how it is fundamentally changing the internal org-chart. Below are just a couple hot trends and how they are affecting the marketing and agency world.

1) The Marketing and IT departments have to be more integrated. The projection is that they could become one in the sameWhy? One reason, the increasing importance of social and digital marketing to most advertisers means even more “big data” available.  The ability to analyze and draw actionable insights quickly requires the resources of IT and technology partners. The largest manufacturers will leverage in-house IT groups, but many mid-sized companies will look to out-source this expertise. It is very possible that the hottest new agency roles could be programmers and data analysts to help support the grow tech needs of brand management and shopper marketers.

2) Eduardo Conrado, SVP of Marketing & IT with Motorola Solutions, made the point that it’s time to update the traditional 4P’s of marketing.  Motorola prefers to think in terms of S.A.V.E.

4ps to SAVE

What is increasingly important to marketers, regardless of B2C or B2B, is Access. Technology has changed everyone’s access. Smart phones make us accessible to our professional and social networks 24/7; on-line collaboration tools have made it easier for people in different cities, states, or countries to easily connect and collaborate; we’re even accessible at 30,000 feet! (thank you Go-Go Inflight!). This increased access through technology means marketers have new avenues to connect with consumers along their purchase journey. None of this is groundbreaking, but just think, mobile or Facebook advertising was not a “norm” 5-10 years ago. Understanding the technology shoppers and consumers possess along their journey helps us discover new and innovative ways to add value or simplify their purchase journey.

3) Programmatic Media Buying is the new buzzword and a growing trend. Integrating data into digital media planning and targeting isn’t new, but it continues to advance and get even smarter and more sophisticated. Programmatic Buying is the newest and hottest trend on this scene. Leading industry expert IDC has projected that programmatic buying will grow at 53% per year in the United States between 2011 and 2016. So what is programmatic buying?  At the highest level, it is the ability to use multiple (almost unlimited) data sources to serve up ads, to a single individual who meets your criteria, through Real Time Bidding on open ad exchanges, often at a healthy discount. The implications for marketers are important. Programmatic buying offers the promise of a more cost effective way, to reach as niche a target as required – minimizing media “waste”.  Interested in learning a bit more?  Read some of the leaders in this space answer the question of “what is programmatic buying” here.

– JSE

Giving Back on the Go

Last week, TPN participated in its Annual Day of Service by volunteering at food banks across the nation.  The Chicago team worked together to unpack, rebag and repack 2,000 pounds of Corn Flakes at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  It provided a break from the office and gave us a chance to do something different for the day.

It also reminded me how tough it is to make time to volunteer consistently throughout the year, outside of our TPN-dedicated days of service.

So I took it upon myself to look into some online and mobile solutions for those of us who want to give back, but may not have the time:

Snoball

Snoball “turns any action into a donation,” by using the power of social media to raise money for nonprofits.  By connecting Snoball to your Facebook, Foursquare or fantasy sports apps, it “empowers individuals to seamlessly integrate giving with living.”

I personally use this program, and each time I check into a restaurant on Foursquare, it donates a dollar to my selected nonprofit.  I also have a monthly limit on how much money I’ll give (I’m a bit of a Foursquare addict and can’t afford a dollar for every check-in).

FreeRice

Owned by the United Nations World Food Programme, Freerice.com has two goals: 1. Providing education to everyone for free, and 2. Helping to end hunger by providing free rice to hungry people for free.

Simply visit the website and answer educational trivia questions.  For each question you get right, 10 grains of rice are donated to the hungry.  It’s literally that simple.  Monetary support comes from sponsors who advertise on the website.

Charity Miles

Charity Miles, like FreeRice, uses corporate partners to support its cause of allowing users to “earn money and raise awareness for charities by walking, running or biking.”

The app not only tracks activity as any other running app, but users have the power to choose which charity they will run for.  Walkers and runners earn $0.25 per mile and bikers earn $0.10 per mile.

Social Media’s March Madness

The Superbowl may have commercials, but March Madness is nipping at its heels with social media, thanks the medium’s ability to attract and interact with a broad range of consumers – and a lot of them.

Nielsen’s 2012 Year in Sports revealed that among 18-49 year olds, 99 percent of sports events were viewed on various devices the same day as airing. This means brands that ran campaigns during the 2012 NCAA championship game were guaranteed a timely interaction with a portion of the 20.8 million viewers who tuned in for the Big Dance.

To take advantage of 2013’s potential reach, Coca-Cola is spending 10 times what it did on social media in 2012 with a campaign that takes a look into the loss of productivity during NCAA March Madness.

The campaign pairs Coke Zero with Bleacher Report, one of the leading sports brands during March, to provide various insights via multiple channels as to why “it’s not your fault you’ve been slacking off” during tournament time.

Other brands have also embraced social media to connect with the NCAA March Madness consumer.

ESPN took a somewhat political approach by having President Obama fill out his bracket on SportsCenter, followed by YouTube star Robbie Novak, also known as “Kid President,” making his predictions. While the President’s video has only 3,000 views thus far, Kid President has racked up more than one million views, demonstrating the power of a strong social media presence.

NCAA sponsors AT&T and Hershey’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have both created campaigns that promise a chance at attending next year’s tournament, all the while ramping up brand page views and Facebook likes. Even more, AT&T and the NCAA teamed up on Twitter to provide “real-time highlights” of games under the NCAA’s @marchmadness handle.

And although the final numbers for 2013 are not yet in, brands that implemented social media campaigns during the past month are sure to see positive results — results that will likely spark an influx of social media campaigns in 2014 and years to come.