Wednesday, November 30, 2011

‘Bricks and Mortar’ retailers using multichannel effectively.

Not only does multichannel tie together the consumer's off and online experience, but with real advantages like "click and collect", (which allows the customer to check if a product is in stock, order it and receive it the same day before even leaving the house) multichannel can help bricks and mortar businesses improve how cost effective they are in terms of e-fulfilment, home delivery, returns etc.

For instance, where you might buy several matching items from different retailers in a trip to a shopping centre or High Street, Westfield's virtual mall allows you to look at and compare the goods of several retailers in an integrated, ecommerce shopping experience.

AaramShop is a classic example of traditional retailers creating online store fronts to better engage with consumers.

Six Ways to Leverage Your Ecommerce Partnerships

Google have defined the  'Zero Moment of Truth' - the point at which a consumer starts researching a purchase online. The internet has changed the way consumers conduct pre-purchase research almost unimaginably in recent years. Recently Google christened this concept the 'Zero Moment of Truth' (ZMOT) – the moment a consumer researches a purchase online.

Therefore, supporting the consumer's research phase necessitates not just listing your products, but executing a great online merchandising strategy - even (especially) when a brand is usually bought in a bricks-and-mortar store.

Remember: consumers are turning to retail search results, product recommendations, and of course a brand's own online collateral - a product image, video, and description - to arrive at their decisions.

Partnering closely with your digital retail partners is the easiest way to ensure you reach these consumers as they research.

Jake Bailey of RichRelevance offers best practices for CPG marketers seeking to optimize a vital moment in the relationship between brands, retailers and consumers. Read the full essay here.

AaramShop integrates a brands ZMOT with its FMOT (first moment of truth - when a shopper actually picks up the product/brand from the shelf)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What the death of Cyber Monday says about our broadband habits

Stacey Higginbotham analyzes online shopping habits and looks at whether Thanksgiving day will be biggest online shopping day, and beat Cyber Monday. There is an interesting implication of this - since more and more people are shopping online using their smartphones and tablets, and broadband penetration has increased substantially in US homes, online shopping will no longer be dependent on people going to office. This holds out something for us in India as well. For now, we might see more online shopping out of offices compared to that at homes because internet penetration is likely to follow a similar direction in India as well.  Another trend to watch out for in India will be the impact of smartphones on online shopping because the mobile revolution has seen a somewhat different trajectory in India. India has seen a huge mobile penetration and with cheaper smartphones we may see increased buying through mobiles as well. Read more below:

"The effort to figure out the biggest online shopping day of the year is still in flux with Thanksgiving, so far, seeing the peak traffic for the shopping season according to Akamai. Will this year be the one where Turkey day beats out Cyber Monday? We’ll have to wait a few more hours to find out. But the loss of Cyber Monday, which got its name when most people had to go into their offices to shop online, shows how far broadband, and now mobile, have come.

Wikipedia notes that was the first to use the term Cyber Monday back in 2005, but the phenomenon of increased web traffic had been noted by retailers for a year or two prior. In 2003, only 20 percent of U.S. homes had broadband connections, a figure that stands at 68 percent today. But in the last few years, as Cyber Monday traffic has bled back into Black Friday and even the two days of the weekend, the smartphone has changed the holiday landscape even more.

So while PayPal is reporting that it is seeing 6 times the traffic today than it did last year, it’s the Akamai data around traffic generated on Thanksgiving that catches my eye. Much like last year, it seems consumers are not waiting for any industry-mandated shopping day to submit their credit cards online. Thanksgiving itself experienced a 70 percent growth traffic according to Akamai, which saw a peak traffic of about 2 million page views per minute on Thanksgiving evening — the peak so far for this shopping season."

Read more here

Black Friday E-Commerce by the Numbers

Zachary Rodgers writes in about Black Friday E-commerce numbers. It is interesting to note that while E-commerce spending rose substantially over last year, the influence of social commerce networks on online sales has not turned out to be significant. Facebook has accounted for a bulk of the social commerce network traffic. It is also interesting to note that shoppers using iPads have bought more compared to those using other devices. Read more below.

"E-commerce spending surged on Black Friday, and retailers responded in kind with a significant increase in search advertising.

U.S. shoppers spent $816 million online on Black Friday (Nov. 26), comScore estimates, 26 percent more than they did one year ago. Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25), typically a light e-commerce day, also saw a sizable 18 percent uptick in spending to $479 million.

Meanwhile IBM Coremetrics' estimate for the day was slightly more conservative. It found Black Friday consumer spending grew 24 percent this year. But it says Thanksgiving Day online retail spending increased at a much higher growth rate of 39 percent.

Mobile Shopping Spikes, iPad Shows Mettle

Black Friday mobile traffic to retail sites grew 14.3 percent, compared to 5.6 percent in 2010, according to IBM. Meanwhile sales transacted on mobile devices surged to 9.8 percent of total sales, compared with 3.2 percent last year, perhaps owing to wider adoption of tablets.

Indeed, IBM says iPad-wielding shoppers bought more and more often than users of other mobile devices. Average iPad conversion rates were 4.6 percent, it said, compared to 2.8 percent for all devices last year.

Social Sputters?

IBM also attempted to track the influence of social networks on e-commerce sales. It found Black Friday shoppers that originated on social sites generated a seemingly paltry 0.53 percent of all online sales. Not surprisingly, Facebook accounted for the bulk (75 percent) of this traffic."

Read more here.

Related articles

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why Can’t Newspapers Make Money Online?

An article by ClickZ published in has an interesting take on why newspapers in US do not seem to make money online. This may be of relevance to Indian newspapers as well in the future, although as of now they do not seem to be facing issues in getting advertisement revenues and the publishing industry is going rapidly. Read more below:

"That’s the question I asked myself the other day as I ran smack up against The Baltimore Sun’s paywall after having reached my 15 page per month (free) limit. I’m not a big reader of the Sun, but I was curious about what people were saying about Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” visit to one of our local eateries. I clicked a link on Facebook that was supposed to lead me to a post on the Sun’s food blog when I smacked right into the wall.

Oh well. As much as I liked reading the Sun’s blogs (and their food blog – Baltimore Diner – was by far my favorite), it didn’t take much to find another local foodie blog with the dirt on Chef Ramsay’s “Nightmare”-ish tirades. Curiosity slaked, I surfed on to somewhere else… all the while muttering to myself under my breath about how I was done with the Sun.

And I am. I’d long ago moved on to other venues for my world and national news and the only thing that’d kept me coming back to the online edition of my local paper was its collection of blogs. But now that the paywall was up, what was the point? It wasn’t worth $2.50/week to me to read the Sun blogs when there were plenty of other local (and free) alternatives. Besides, the comments on the posts were half the reason I read them – Baltimoreans can be a contentious and entertaining lot when it comes to debating local issues – and I was sure that now that the wall was up the local commenters I’d love to spar with would move on to free-er pastures. And with many laid-off local reporters moving on to new (and better) local sites such as the excellent Baltimore Brew, what was left for me to read?"

Read more here

Related articles

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fcommerce - going really strong.

12 per cent of social media users have been encouraged to make a purchase from a Facebook store after seeing something on the site, according to the latest eCustomerServiceIndex (eCSI) results from eDigitalResearch and IMRG.
The results mark an 8.8 percentage point growth in fCommerce (Facebook Commerce) in just four months, as more and more retailers import their website functionality into the social networking site.

The study also found that 25 per cent of online consumers now log onto Facebook more than once a day, and that 97 per cent of online shoppers plan to log onto the internet this Christmas to browse and buy gifts. 27 per cent of consumers will access the internet from their smartphone to browse and buy, while another 9 per cent will use their tablet device.

Numerous Facebook developments in 2011 have seen an influx of retailers flock to the platform in an effort to connect and communicate with customers. The introduction of check-ins and Facebook deals earlier in the year allowed retailers to provided localised information and offers to customers, while the recent tweaks to photo tagging and timelines gives retailers the potential to connect beyond their immediate fan base and towards friends of customers as well.

AaramShop's innovative Facebook presence won it a number of accolades and was the 1st to make use of its Facebook presence to enable consumers to shop for groceries. 

F-commerce leads the way in 2011

As social media becomes an increasingly popular and effective form of marketing for businesses and retailers, mounting evidence suggests that Facebook is the strongest of ‘the big four’ networking sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Brands have come to realize over the last 12-18 months the influence that the networking site yields over its users, and surveys are now carried out to collate and report on companies’ Facebook standing.

ChannelAdvisor’s UK Facebook Commerce Index (UK FCI) ranks retailers according to the number of Facebook fans they have, with Arcadia-owned Topshop constantly topping the charts with over 1.6 million fans. While there was at first some skepticism over how these fans could generate profit for brands, the site responded to initial calls to improve ROI and added a number of features.

‘Like’ buttons are well-known to be the main source of interaction for retailers and brands as, once clicked, users’ friends are alerted to the move and this further drives brand recognition.

The success of this feature, which contributed to one company noting on the Facebook’s Business Pages website that it generated nearly $40,000 (£25,000) in direct revenue within 12 months following an investment of $600 in an advertisement with the network, is being emulated by competitors keen to enter the burgeoning market.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The 5 LEVERS strategy of Unilevers

The five "levers" are a set of principles based on Unilever's previous research and insights into consumer behaviour, which the company hopes will "increase the likelihood of having an effective and lasting impact" through a series of "interventions" in consumer behaviour.

Unilever's 'Five levers for change' are:

  1. Make it understood – Sometimes people don't know about a behaviour and why they should do it. This lever raises awareness and encourages acceptance.
  2. Make it easy – People are likely to take action if it's easy, but not if it requires extra effort. This lever establishes convenience and confidence.
  3. Make it desirable –The new behaviour needs to fit with how people like to think of themselves, and how they like others to think of them. This lever is about self and society.
  4. Make it rewarding – New behaviours need to articulate the tangible benefits that people care about. This lever demonstrates the proof and payoff.
  5. Make it a habit – Once consumers have changed, it is important to create a strategy to help hold the behaviour in place over time. This lever is about reinforcing and reminding.

Read more click here>>

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mobile Advertising Exploding

According to the Q3 S.M.A.R.T.™ report, an in-depth look at the mobile advertising landscape, brands are spending more, and trying a variety of things to drive campaign success.

Local market targeting grew 50% quarter-over-quarter, and certain "post-click" options like the ability to watch video, grew 78% quarter-over-quarter.

As advertisers continued to reach local consumers, the "view map" option was used to drive them into physical locations.

The report reports some very interesting findings like - when consumers used their mobile phones while shopping in Q3, the top activity was to search for particular items to try and find a better price. The second most popular activity was to read product reviews.

Key facts on India's retail sector & FDI

After years of delay due to political opposition, Indian cabinet will discuss on Thursday regarding allowing 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and full ownership in single-brand retail.
India, which currently allows 51 percent FDI in single-brand retail and 100 percent in wholesale operations, is considering opening fully its single-brand retail sector to FDI.

Read more on the key facts on Indian retail on this Reuters report

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

QR Mania: Mobile Codes In Magazines Rise 228%

As per reports the number of "mobile action codes" / QR Codes rose from 88 in January issues to 507 in September issues in the US.

Some key campaigns in Q3 involving in-book codes for sweepstakes included an August issue of Allure that generated 576,000 scans to code provider Microsoft Tag and an issue of This Old House that generated 234,000 scans, according to reports.

Nellymoser reports that 6.52% of ad pages in the August issues this year and 5.76% of ad pages in the September issues of the 100 magazines surveyed carried codes.

AaramShop creates interesting opportunities for FMCG / CPG brands using QR codes to increase interactions and engagements and in a very unique manner connects the web engagement into last mile engagement.

Read more on the growing trend of mobile action codes here 

CPG Drives Amazon Ads.

In its first analysis of display advertising on the home page, Macquarie Group reported that CPG marketers such as Philips and Procter & Gamble accounted for the biggest share of ads during the second half of the fourth quarter, at 28%.

Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter added Amazon to his twice-quarterly reports on home page advertising among the top Web portals, since the firm believes the online retail giant plans to ramp up its display ad business.

And ad sales on the Yahoo login page -- where the company began selling ad space last year -- sold out on 65% of the days so far in the fourth quarter, down from 74% for the mid-August to September 30 period.

Read more here

The Four Technologies You Need to Be Working With

Adam Richardson, Assistant VP Strategy, Marketing, for the global design and innovation firm frog, writes in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, on the four technologies that are critical for businesses. While answering one of the commenters, he makes a very important point about how the combination of these four technologies is very relevant for companies. Read more below:

"What do Netflix, Zipcar,, Nike+, Amazon, the Nintendo Wii, and the Apple iPhone all have in common? They all take advantage of four technologies that once were scarce and expensive but are now plentiful and cheap. These technologies can be combined in numerous ways, and we are just starting to see companies really taking advantage of the possibilities. These four technologies will have a disruptive impact on your business, almost regardless of which industry you're in. The question is whether you will choose to adopt them before a competitor does.

What are they?
1. Microprocessors
2. Sensors
3. Wireless connectivity
4. Databases"

Read more here

Twitter Upgrades Activity Streams

Mitch Wagner, the Editor-in-Chief of The CMO Site ( takes us through the kinds of changes Twitter has made to its home page to make it more useful for brands looking to find influencers to engage with.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Social Commerce Platform Review: Foursquare - Turning Chekin(s) Into Cash

Paul Chaney writes in Social Commerce Today on how Foursquare is leveraging its platform for its benefit and how Brands can use Foursquare for their benefit. Read more below:

"The concept of using a mobile phone to “check-in” to a business such as a store or restaurant to declare one’s location is foreign to many. But to the 10 million users of geo-location social network foursquare, such activity has become commonplace.

By checking in via a smartphone app or SMS, foursquare users share their location with friends. Those who check in a certain number of times accrue points and collect virtual badges. Users who check in the most times at a certain venue will be crowned “Mayor.”

Checking-in, collecting points, winning badges, becoming mayor all sounds like fun. The best part is, that “fun” can be turned into profit and serve as a means through which brands can obtain, engage and retain customers.

How Brands Can Use Foursquare

There are two primary ways brands, especially retail brands, can leverage foursquare’s platform:

1. Claim a Venue

Through its merchant platform foursquare allows owners of retail outlets – including national chains – to “claim” their venue and provide special offers to those who check-in using a mobile app. The types of specials that can be offered include:
  • A discount with purchase. “Spend $50 and get $10 off.” This is a way to drive up the average order value.
  • Something for free. For example, “Enjoy a free dessert if you buy an appetizer and main course.” These are often low cost and high impact.
  • Special treatment. Check-in to receive something exclusive to Foursquare users.
  • Reward the best customers. “Free coffee on your fifth visit” is a common offer.
2. Create a Page

A second way for brands to leverage foursquare is by creating a Page. Though brands with retail outlets can use this feature, it was intended for those with large audiences, but that have no physical location per se. That could include media outlets such as the History Channel, Wall Street Journal or People magazine, fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, or CPG brands like Redbull or Pepsi.

I have to admit to not really seeing the relevance of foursquare pages. Though they bear some resemblance to a Facebook Page or Twitter feed, the functionality is very limited. Page owners can leave “tips” (akin to status updates or tweets) and link to other web properties they may own. Tips are fine for brands with brick and mortar stores – they show up when someone checks-in – but are less useful for those without in my opinion. Lastly, foursquare users can “follow” pages, but there is no facility for interaction between the brand and followers.

There are a couple of other ways in which brands can take advantage of foursquare for advertising and marketing purposes:
  • Partner badges – Earning foursquare badges for performing certain real-world actions is a key platform component. Partner badges are branded versions of those that businesses can use for promotional campaigns.
  • API Platform – Foursquare’s open API has been used to developed literally thousands of apps. All of the features available in the foursquare mobile app are available via the API."
Read more here

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shopper Marketing is becoming a lot more Social.

As marketers increasingly come to understand that consumer behavior is not always a predictor of shopping behavior, they are becoming more focused on what drives shopper choice, both in online and physical stores.

And as retailers themselves come to understand that their wealth of transaction data (what people bought) doesn't give them true insights into why shoppers behave the way they do, retail merchandising and marketing leaders are questioning everything: store layout, navigation, promotional displays, packaging, associate training, and more.

The evolution of shopper marketing is best understood as an ongoing drive to deliver and capture ever greater value from manufacturer and retailer collaboration.

The most recent evolutionary stage in shopper marketing is the rise of shopper solutions. The new 5th annual Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) shopper marketing study has some interesting insights on how the practice of shopper marketing is evolving.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why mobile marketing strategy is important in India.

In India, mobile is going beyond voice and short-message-texting capabilities as the number of active mobile Internet users continues to climb.

By the end of next year, while more than 40 million users will access social media sites via personal computers, over 60 million users will access the sites via their mobile phones.

A Nielsen mobile insights survey finds that non-smartphone users are willing to pay 7200 INR on their next handset, which is below the current average smartphone pricing of 5,500 INR, suggesting that a smartphone will likely enter the consideration set for consumers in 2012.

"The Indian consumer's quest for a new phone is almost entirely feature driven and while the camera and FM radio remain favorites, consumers are now also looking for Internet connectivity via their mobile phone, hoping to finally connect to the growing online community," said Farshad Family, Managing Director of Media, Nielsen India.

A confluence of factors a growing social media user base, an increasing smartphone penetration and a mounting consumer desire to connect is creating a perfect storm of opportunity for brands to make social media an integral part of the marketing strategy with engaging programs that elevate and differentiate their brand from all the rest.

Tomorrow’s Retail Environment.

During a panel session at the Consumer 360 event, Nielsen's retailer and manufacturer clients discussed the likely resilience of Indian traditional trade channel in the future despite the imminent growth in modern trade.

Given the convenience and importance traditional kirana retail outlets offer, many panelists expect the Indian consumer to be even more demanding of modern retail than in other developing markets.

Marketers who understand the future of the Indian retail environment and how consumers' shopping practices are changing will thrive in this dynamic and expanding market. One of the significant changes happening with the retail space in India is the emergence of online etailing ability of the traditional stores via the AaramShop platform

Consumer Behaviour Online : an Indian perspective.

  • 54% of digital consumers in India trust friend’s comments written about brands while 52% also trust strangers comments.
  • 45% of the digital consumers write comments to help other people while 32%  motivated to share
  • Contrary to the popular perception, there is a very minor difference between people who complain and praise brands. In India, 12% of people* praise and only 11% complain
  • People write less about products that involve expertise or technical understanding. People are less likely to comment on technical aspects on the brand awareness stage but more likely to do so when they are buying the product
  • Locations based services, Time-shift TV and Internet banking is 3 key trends that TNS reports to grow popular in future. Across all the countries, growth in online video in different formats is also anticipated
  • 29% of people* in India are more open to finding brands than they are resistant to them
  • Between the age group of 25 to 34, 38% of people are more open to finding out about brands as compared to 27% in the age group of 16 to 2. Across all the countries, older age groups are as open to brands as the younger age groups
  • 28% of people* are open to buying products on Social Networks

Transforming Marketing Strategy for Right-Time Revenue Optimization

For many marketing organizations, implementing multichannel marketing to optimize revenue at the right time in the customer life cycle is an imperative.

Putting this foundation in place creates a multichannel marketing strategy framework that will transform your marketing organization into a force that will drive competitive advantage.

In the final stage of marketing maturity, marketing organizations are able to drive their strategies and tactics to create value optimization, using customer intelligence, at each stage of the customer life-cycle.

At any stage of marketing maturity, all marketing organizations have access to data, but few are able to leverage customer intelligence that produces actionable insight to drive marketing strategy.

Where do closed-loop systems intersect with multichannel marketing, and why should they be part of your marketing strategy transformation? To transform your multichannel marketing strategy into right-time revenue optimization, you need to evolve to a closed-loop system that integrates multiple, heterogeneous data sources to drive high-volume, multichannel campaigns.

To fully optimize revenue and gain a competitive advantage, marketing organizations must embrace the foundational elements of transforming their multichannel marketing strategy.

Undergoing this kind of marketing strategy transformation creates a sustainable and scalable multichannel marketing strategy over time that optimizes revenue at the right time, through the right targets, and with the right offer.

Read more here:

The Year Of The Mobile Shopper

Record numbers will shop on mobile during these holidays
While some retailers made early bets in mobile that have in some cases yielded 20% increase in online sales, most are still trying to define an overall mobile strategy.

And just as important, remember that shopping on a retailer's mobile site means visual shopping, especially for ESL shoppers.

With the average mobile device shopper spending about 4 minutes on a site, it becomes imperative for retailers to quickly serve up ONLY the most relevant content.

According to IBM Coremetrics data, 9.2% of consumers in October that came to a retailer's web site from a social media site made a purchase, compared to 5.5% who visited the store site directly.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Study: Multi-channels marketing a must to reach consumers

Boots, the health and beauty retailer headquartered in the UK, offers the best user experience across its online, mobile and in-store platforms, according to 'The 2011 Multichannel Retail Report', published by Webcredible, a user experience consultant company.

Nine out of 15 retailers landed above 50 percent for their user experience across their multichannel offerings, however, Webcredible found that although several companies had strong websites, they're not making the most of the m-commerce boom.

Retailers With Superior ‘Store Experiences’ Likely to Win the Multi-Channel Race

Recent research from the Harvard Business School, Retailing Department, highlights the decline in retail store asset productivity since the start of the recession in 2007.

Manthan's report offers critical pointers to multichannel retailers on how they can leverage their stores as a key differentiator in the cross channel shopping process.

Stores are devising ways to optimize retail space usage, cut inventory and increase efficiency of store level assets.

Retailers are opting for new store designs and layout with well-designed aisles, 'drive-through' facilities for picking up products ordered online and effective digital signage to make the store experience convenient and hassle-free for cross-channel customers.