Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meeting The Challenges of a Changing Marketplace -the emotionally driven consumer.

Consumers today are becoming much more emotionally driven in their behaviors. Consumers are finding themselves “depleted” in a number of ways, they have a lack of time, energy, or the financial resources to cope with this ever changing world. According to psychologists, the more depleted the consumer, the more irrational (emotional) they become. This depletion affects how consumers purchase and use products, relying more and more on habitual behaviors – driven more by emotions than rational thought.

The CPG industry is finding that traditional approaches to innovation are too slow and inflexible to respond to these marketplace dynamics. Whole industries are in the early process of changing how they innovate in response to changing markets. They are becoming to understand the need to become more social driven, to see the building of corporate trust as a critical goal.

Read more on the changes happening in the consumer behavior here and the read the related articles to understand how a CPG / FMCG brand can leverage the AaramShop platform to connect better with the modern and evolving consumer of the day (and tomorrow)

Retail TouchPoints: Social Media 'Fatigue' Impacts Channel Growth

Although analysts have predicted that social media will continue to have a significantly positive effect on brand awareness and purchase decisions, a new report by Gartner has revealed a growing social media "fatigue" among users of sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The findings were based on a survey of more than 6,000 respondents between the ages of 13 and 74, and compiled in a report titled: User Survey Analysis: Trends in Consumers' Use of Social Media.

Read more about this report here:

A new look at digital grocery shopping tools.

Following is a superb article from Brick Meets Click.

""When the first wave of online grocery shopping passed through the marketplace in 2000, my colleagues and I had in-depth conversations with several heavy users of the then-new tools. The things we learned contradicted some commonly held beliefs.

  • These online shoppers weren’t spending less time shopping. They were actually spending more time, but they were shifting those hours to times of day that were more convenient for them, 9:30 pm for example, or 11:30 am weekdays.
  • Their primary frustration with grocery shopping was that they didn’t have time to do it as well as they wanted to – they had a strong desire to get not just what was needed by others in the household, but what was wanted.
  • This frustration wasn’t just a minor issue, either; it came from the feeling that they were not being as loving and caring as they wanted to be.
  • They received real emotional satisfaction when they found the time necessary to make what they felt were the best choices for their family.
Fast forward to 2011 and a new generation of grocery shopping technology. It’s time to take another in-depth look at how shoppers thinking about and using these tools. Read more of this post on Brick & Click

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Convenience gives digital the upper hand

The running theme through this year’s top performers of the Promise Index is offering customers the ultimate in making their lives easier, be it achieved through technology, product innovation and value-for-money service.

Consumers are all for an easy life. So it is no surprise that brands offering the height of convenience through technological innovation top this year’s Promise Index, shown exclusively to Marketing Week. Online companies Google, Amazon and PayPal head the list of businesses which consumers believe offer a customer experience on a par with its brand image.

Each year, the Promise Index asks more than 1000 consumers to rate 250 brands out of 10 on two metrics: the ’image’ projected by a brand and the actual ’experience’ it offers customers. The companies achieving the best averaged scores have a solid brand image that is accompanied by an experience that over delivers on expectations.

Read more of this article on Marketing Week

54% comparison-shopped for products online.

The barriers to access are diminishing greatly. Today’s shoppers carry access in their pockets. They create their own consumer guides a million times a minute with reviews, tweets, blogs, social network posts and videos for products of all kinds.

It’s simply the new mental model and the new conversation we all have to be a part of now.

What’s changed is that the stimulus now drives consumers to a new stopover on their way to the shelf. When that camera shopper began searching, the information wasn’t “poured on him” — he actively hunted for and pulled down what he wanted.

Read more about Zero Moment of Truth and it's impact on CPG shopping here.

is a unique model which integrates the ZMOT with FMOT. Read more in the related articles.

Heinz eyes further Facebook ecommerce campaigns.

Organic Heinz Tomato Ketchup 2Image via WikipediaHeinz is eyeing potential e-commerce campaigns for future tomato ketchup products, following the success of its first Facebook shop.

The company became the first FMCG brand to sell a product via the social network earlier this year when it made a limited-edition flavor of tomato ketchup available exclusively through Facebook.

Although there aren’t any break-out figures to track the sales uplift in ketchup sales as a direct result of the Facebook shop, the results were enough to trigger an increase in spend on the social network.

Read more on Marketing Week

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hybrid Retail: Integrating E-commerce and Physical Stores.

The third generation of retail will be characterized by hybrid organizations that combine the best of e-retail with the best of traditional bricks-and-mortar retailing. According to the Harvard Business Review article, prognosticators such as John Quelch, dean of the London Business School, believe that hybrid retail, may work "for supermarkets, wholesale clubs, and retailers that offer a great assortment of mostly low-end merchandise." Others see a broader role for hybrid retail, in which retailers of products that buyers must see in person before they buy view their physical stores as the key channel for acquiring and building relationships with customers and where Web sites are set up as fulfillment channels, organized to handle repeat orders at a low cost.

The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast physical retail, e-retail, and hybrid retail across a variety of dimensions. These dimensions are based on a model of a retail system that considers both the customer's purchasing experience and the retailer's fulfillment processes. The results of this analysis are used to explain current developments and forecast future developments in how retail businesses adapt to e-commerce.

Online FMCG / CPG Retailing – it’s challenges and opportunities

Online retailing of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) / Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) has not been caught up so far, not just in India, but also across the world. It is probably the last big segment / sector that is still largely out of the online commerce ambit and represents the next big challenge.

FMCG’s (grocery / household essentials) share of wallet is not only very high, but it is also very consistent and is rapidly growing over time, and therefore there is a lot of interest in wanting to address this market.

However, there are a number of challenges that traditional e-commerce models face when it comes to FMCG / CPG online retailing. The challenges are not just logistical, but also around the consumers’ buying behavior and service level expectations.

Also read the 4 reasons that make the opportunity of FMCG online retailing REAL, if done right.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Google Maps — Now With Voice Search

AaramShops are available on Voice Search on Google As well.

Impact of Internet - McKinsey report

McKinsey has come out with an interesting report on impact of internet on GDP of countries. As per this, Internet contributes to 3.4% of GDP in these countries, and 21% of GDP growth in mature countries. For India, the numbers are 3.2% and 5% respectively.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

How Marketers Exploit 'Decision Fatigue' to Close Sales.

Fatigued decision-makers resist making further decisions. They may opt not to decide and let the status quo prevail. They may jump impulsively to some related or unrelated temptation. Their overall willpower is lessened.

Marketers take advantage of decision fatigue to close sales. Supermarkets place a gantlet of candy, gum, and magazines in the path of shoppers before they check out, and these impulse purchases are quite profitable.

AaramShop is able to integrate the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) with the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) in the consumers path to purchase of a CPG / FMCG brand, ensuring minimal fatigued decision making.

Read more on Decision Fatigue here and more about how the brand can leverage it's presence on AaramShop in the related links below.

There Are 13 Shopping Seasons (and counting)

Retail marketers are adding new seasons to the year in their search to find shortcuts to shoppers' wallets. Not content with selling Christmas, the marketers have developed 13-20 different annual holidays as excuses to shop.

For example, what holiday comes after Christmas? If you said New Year's, you're American. If you said Boxing Day, you're British or Canadian. If you said "Storage and Organization," you work at Target, according to The Wall Street Journal's Sarah Nassauer. Starting in January, Target displays products that might appeal to shoppers with New Year's resolutions, such as exercise equipment.

Read more about the 13 Shopping Seasons here;

7 Facebook Commerce startegies for brands

Of course the AaramShop's own Facebook page has been viewed as a shining example of shopping for grocery items on the web.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mobile Social Commerce

As per the recent report released by 360i (attached at the bottom of this post), most forms of mobile social commerce fit into the seven categories below:

1) Reviews - been around for ever.

2) Check-ins - think Foursquare and Places.

3) Daily Deals - not to social though.

4) Q&A - local info.

5) Style Feedback

6) Shopping Feedback

7) Collecting Info.

Consider these seven collectively as a starting point. Mobile social commerce is bound to evolve. In time, it will be possible to make purchases directly through social networks' mobile sites and applications. It will be possible to receive better deals if you share them with friends who are in close proximity to certain retail locations. It will be possible to use near field communication (NFC) to share purchasing activity as soon as transactions are completed. All of this will lead to more literal and tangible versions of mobile social commerce, if it turns out that's how consumers want to shop. There's no need to wait, though, given all of the opportunities marketers have to use mobile social media to impact purchasing behavior today.

Who will win the button war? Consumers or brands?

As the giants of search and social race to out-innovate the competition, sharing integrations get better and better. Consumers now have more choice when deciding where, when, and how to exchange social currency. They have more information to guide their decisions, whether that decision is deciding which blog post to read, or which laptop to buy.

As a result, brands now have more power to analyze and adapt to these signals, improving every aspect of their product development and marketing.

The button war means more choice, more data, and more value to consumers and brands. Let’s hope it rages on and read the full article here on The Bazaar Voice.

Five ways to maximise your social commerce ROI

If you’re engaged in online marketing efforts, over the past two to three years you’ve probably launched several social media and social commerce initiatives. Next, you wanted to better understand their performance, so you implemented basic tracking of your social media campaigns. Then, you set goals around social media engagement, which often include measuring the number of fans, followers, impressions, comments, reviews, brand mentions, posts and reposts and other variables. However, if you’re still wondering whether you are getting all you can out of social media and social commerce activities, you’re not alone.

Taking social media campaigns to the next level requires tools that are not only able to track posts and re-posts, but can also track all the way through to clicks, orders and sales. As soon as you do this, you’re ready to start fully optimizing the social commerce channel. Here are five wonderful tips by Jim Wehmann to maximize your social commerce ROI:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Global Loyalty Compass

An eye-catching sighting on the global loyalty horizon: Consumers in countries with emerging economies are twice as likely to claim that loyalty programs are “extremely influential” in their purchasing behavior, versus consumers in countries with developed economies.

Read more;

Report on Facebook Commerce [Report]

Here’s a five-point speed summary of a recent white paper on f-commerce from e-commerce marketing agency Vertical Rails; “Selling Products on Facebook – The Emergence of Social Commerce: How Facebook Commerce Can Be Used To Increase Sales & Generate Excitement Around Your Brand

Fans to Sell Brands From Their Own Facebook Page


Pop-up retail is not new on Facebook, but pop-up retail pioneers Vacant are innovating with a new service – MyPopUpShop - that will allow brands and bands to sell not only from pop-up stores on their Facebook page, but from the Facebook pages of their fans. Fans and influencers will be invited to install a Facebook app (developed by Swedish firm micromarketing) that will create a temporary (30 day) pop-up store on their own Facebook page selling 30-day only Facebook exclusives. Fans will be incentivised to promote their pop-up store and will receive commission from sales – which will be completed within Facebook. Launch is scheduled as imminent.

Read more on this new trend here:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

User-Generated Content Participation

Rating a product purchased sees the greatest participation among social activities (70%) though liking and sharing exceed 40% penetration. This follows closely in line with the prior question though it appears to have legs with 42% of respondents having shared with others regarding product. Elevated interest in liking is logical given the 75% penetration among EG100 sites. The real question is, can “liking” achieve the same status as product ratings have today?

Certainly there is a distinct possibility as the tool has had limited time to resonate with shoppers and its presence on 36% of the EG100 sites is not nearly universal across retail sites.

Download the full report from here (PDF);

5 Social Shopping Trends Shaping the Future of Ecommerce

Value@Home Vouchers-A unique marketing opportunity for FMCG/CPG brands

With AaramShop introducing its direct to home marketing initiative through a voucher initiative, FMCG marketers can now leverage a potent way of reaching the potential audience of their brands. It cuts through the clutter of screaming at audiences- typically all conventional “buy-me,” “try-me” campaigns that stake-holders get themselves busy with. In other words the “value @ hone” voucher initiative provides the brand a perfect opportunity to communicate to a community, households that get addressed by AaramShops either online or offline. The messaging or the marketing objective for a brand could either be awareness of a brand (may be a new variant or so) or it could be about a trade promotion or a current offer that is running in the market. It could also be focused at generating trials or sampling tool to drive more foot fall at the outlet.

The modes operand i-

These vouchers will be bundled up in the form of a book-let(not any different than a typical cheque book) and sent to consumers at the beginning of every month. Consumers can then redeem these vouchers online, while buying their daily essentials or grocery through , or physically visiting the nearest AaramShop neighborhood outlet and redeeming it offline.

The distribution of these brand vouchers will be done in the following manner:

· D 1.Direct mailing to consumers who are registered with as consumers

2.Thru-channel distribution. Here, a designated AaramShop undertakes the responsibility of distributing these voucher booklets to the entire daily footfall that happens in his shop plus the home delivery that he caters to either by way of AaramShop orders or via telephone orders

Monday, August 22, 2011

Online spends by retail and CPG industry in the US

Despite these strong gains, CPG will only be the fourth-highest-spending vertical by 2015, with automotive and financial services ahead in overall spending.

Between 2010 and 2015, eMarketer projects that the telecom industry will lose the greatest share of online ad spending, dropping from 13% of the total to 9.2% during the period. Computing, financial services and leisure travel will also decline in share, while consumer packaged goods and retail will make the greatest gains by this metric as well (3 percentage points and 1.4 percentage points, respectively).

Why CMOs are now Chief Revenue Officers

While the title of this article is borrowed from a wonderful and inspiring article by Dennis Yu, the article is really about what we are trying to do at AaramShop and how we are working towards evolving the role of the CMO, who is predominantly an expense head, into that of a revenue head.

It is a fact the the CMO and his team are responsible for the brand, it's recall and it's salience, however, while in the past it made sense for a brand manager to stop at that function - with the evolution of media and it's consumption patterns by consumers, the role of the brand manager of yesteryear has to undergo a sea-change as well.

Traditionally the brand managers role was focused on "awareness" while the last mile was really the focus on the sales and logistics personnel. AaramShop is a unique platform where the "awareness" / "search" / "conversations" (zero moment of truth) has been seamlessly integrated into "purchase" / "re-purchase" / "loyalty" / "recommendation" (1st moment of truth). This seamless integration of the two moments of truth enables a brand marketer to play the role of a sales head and the reverse is true as well.

The brand manager will find all "awareness" oriented touch-points are available on AaramShop, e.g., category advertising, social network integration, alignment along the path of purchase etc. and he/she would also find that all these touch-points are focused at changing the consumers' casual browsing behavior to online purchase - which is leveraged via the existing channel partners and the independent neighborhood retailers.

9 Ways Your Business Needs To Change To Become Social

The challenge is that most businesses are stuck in traditional thinking and marketing that doesn’t translate well to a social atmosphere, on- or off-line. While many people are advocating the evolution of businesses to becoming, “social businesses,” few people are outlining specific changes that will help them.

Here are some ways traditional business need to evolve to become social.

AaramShop represents an opportunity for brand (CPG & FMCG) to connect in a more meaningful manner with their consumers and their social networks. AaramShop not only ensures sales but also initiates conversation about the brand at the most relevant touch-point.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Must-Know Facebook Insights for Brands.

Social marketing - and particularly marketing on Facebook - requires special attention to the rapid developments in the industry - developments that can make yesterday's strategies irrelevant. In the spirit of making the most up-to-date and actionable best practices available to marketers just like you, this post is a snapshot of the Facebook marketing climate at this very minute, ready for integration into your existing marketing plans today.

AaramShop's Facebook Interface & it's brand widgets have received a lot of attention and accolades and is an opportunity for brands to tap into the enormous opportunity to engage with their consumers on Facebook.

Read the 7 Must-Know Facebook Insights here;

Retail, CPG Pour Most New Dollars into Online Ads (in US)

More than a third of new online ad spending this year will come from the two industries

Retail, already the highest-spending vertical online, will add over $1.3 billion to online budgets this year for growth of 24% and a total of $6.78 billion. The CPG industry will spend $640 million more to advertise online this year than last year, and will continue to grow spending by 14% to 29% each year through 2015.

Read more this report here