I love being psychic... Thanks Alice.

A few days ago I posted this... in which I said, "I received my first order 4 days. Everything I ordered was in the box, intact and great. In-pack sampling, however, I hope is something they start doing." And then, this is what I found on facebook today. " announces free samples + win a Mac Book! -".

Seriously, I'm psychic. Go check out the link.


Retail Forward Conference in NYC

Some of my cohorts from Insight and Strategy are in NYC this week at the Retail Forward Conference. They are tweeting live some interesting tidbits. Check them out:

Tuesday Delivers

The very definition of in-store is changing, even for the most basic of products. For buying something as simple as shampoo, opportunities are both real and virtual. The growth of services like Peapod and Amazon Fresh as well as online ordering for brick and mortar stores like Safeway and King Sooper have changed the game.

At this point, has received a decent amount of press, and I have been following them for a while. First on their blog, anxiously awaiting their beta to end and for them to open to the public. Then when the opportunity finally arrived, I registered for my account. The registration process gathered smart and select details about my household (number of adults, children, their ages, etc.). Enough to be useful, but not so much as to slow the process.
I went online and pulled together my first order last week. The process was simple and the site easily shoppable. I would have like to have seen a little more cross-merchandising though, but I'm sure, as they gather more info about their shoppers, they will better provide recommendations. Anyway, I received my first order 4 days. Everything I ordered was in the box, intact and great. In pack sampling, however, I hope is something they start doing.

The question this raises for me is... will shoppers start brand switching because only limited brands are sometimes available through these new, highly convenient services?


Fresh and Easy Reason to Twitter

As everyone on the planet is rapidly signing up for and figuring out Twitter, I have been keeping an eye out for great retail uses of it. (see recent post about Meijer) So, when the above popped up on my Twitter feed from Fresh n Easy, I was pleased. Outside of the usual news and deal announcements employed by most retailers, or even promotional offers as Meijer has done, creating a feedback loop with shoppers is a great innovation. It represents a retailer truly understanding the need to have a conversation with its shoppers, not just push out messages at them. Well done Fresh n Easy!


Digitail™: The Bosses' Big Presentation

Its been a big day for Digitail, a relatively new practice we have hatched over at Integer.  Digitail was created to capitalize on existing trends in the retail and digital spaces which are bringing the two closer and closer together. Digitail has basically involved a shift in thinking across the agency as well as  new internal structures and a couple strategic alliances.  Both Craig Elston, SVP of Insight and Strategy (my boss) and Morgan McAlenney, SVP of all things digital (my adopted boss) are at the In-store Marketing Institute Summit today presenting. This is the first time that we have had an industry forum to present our thinking in this arena. (you download the presentation here).  I'm very curious to see what the response is.

Also, today, gave us a guest column spot and pubilshed an article on Digitail as well.  Article is here

The launch of this practice has been a real adventure and has already yielded some great results.  If you want to long story on Digitail, you can read the white paper which can be found on (our work blog). The white paper can be found here


My Digital Love Affair with Meijer

Meijer rarely makes it into the top ten retailers of my clients and I don't even have one around me that I could go kneel in front of... but I do truly love them.  Over the past few years, I have watched in wonder as they embraced new technology in a very simple and, most importantly, shopper-centric way.  I have mentioned their great widgets/apps in a previous post, (Favorite Tech and Trend Tidbits Effecting Retail in 2008), because while the Target snowglobe iphone app was cute and all, it wasn't really that helpful. Meijer on the other hand, is trying to use technology to enhance the shopping experience. 

Today, however, I wanted to briefly mention their Twitter feed. While none or few, of their competitors are embracing the world of mirco-blogging, Meijer has integrated it into a fun little Easter promo they are having on their website.  The promo is simple.  Step 1.) Log in to and read today's clue. Step 2.) hunt around Step 3.) Find the egg and find the promo code. Read more here.  With a very simple idea they are, driving traffic to the site, creating increased visitor frequency (come back to see tomorrow's deal), and increasing pages viewed per visit as users look for each day's egg (they can put the egg on a new or under used part of the site for awareness). So simple an idea that does so much.

So, each day on Twitter, they put up the day's clue to drive traffic to the promo. For example "Today's Easter Egg clue - To get a reel deal at Meijer, follow the bunny at! Hint: You may be star struck!"  Further, I love that they have also brought some light hearted fun back into promotion.  Today we have serious consumer trends about the economy, health and environmentalism which, while important, often tend to focus brands on more serious promotional concepts, or worse, simple value-based ideas that lack any imagination at all.  As a marketer that is currently wandering the frontier of the intersection of digital lifestyles and how they impact shopping, its nice to know that there is a retailer out in these parts as well. 


Join our Social Media Experiment - Tide Loads of Hope

This evening we're in an interesting social media experiment. We're testing the power of social media to spread a "buy now" message to support a great cause. Tide is selling retro tee-shirts to support Loads of Hope. Check out the video below for more about this great cause, and support them by going to and buying a shirt—two shirts gets free shipping.

It is definitely a great cause so a worthwhile endeavor. But the key to the experiment is in not using traditional paid media and instead appealing to bloggers, twitterers, facebookers, etc. as the mechanisms to reach out and talk to folks. So please check out and join our experiment.


Favorite Tech and Trend Tidbits Effecting Retail in 2008

Since I have been MIA for a while on the blog, I thought I would fill you in on what I have be up to and thinking about for the past few months. Tech and Retail. They are integrating in new ways, and to stay innovative in both the retail and online spaces, I have spent a lot of time playing in this space. Check out a few of my favorite things from 2008 in this arena.

Meijer Launches WineList Widget – Qponix 12/19/08

“Meijer launched WineList, a compact finder widget we developed. WineList allows you to explorewines in your local Meijer store. It compresses lots of interactivity and abundant data into a160x300 embeddable, viral application. The playful interface gives you many ways to find interesting wines. After choosing a location, you make the big choice: will it be red, pink or white tonight (R, P or W)? You then play with a set of selectors - winery, price, varietal, from (region), flavor, and pairing - to refine your search. You can save wines you like to a favorites list and print it out.”

My Thoughts: Along with their Mealbox shopping "widget turning mobile app" Meijer is doing impressive work in this area. Much more useful than the Target snowglobe app, my only question is... how ready are shoppers for this? But sometimes we need to forge ahead of the current state to be truly innovative.

Shop Savvy With Your Cell Phone – ABC 2 News 12/3/08

“Now, there's new technology that can save you money when you're shopping. Some smart phones are now equipped with applications that allow you to scan barcodes to find the cheapest price. The nnew scanning technology called “Shop Savvy” can be found on T-Mobile's G1 phone.” 

My Thoughts: Its that app that every retail agency wanted to come up with first, but didn't. Its basic and fantastic all at the same time. 

Stop & Shop Deploys Scan It! in 50 Stores – Mediaweek 1/8/09

“With the new locations, the hand-held, self-service and electronic coupon devices are now in a total of 145 Stop & Shop and Giant Food stores. Launched in Aug. 2007, the Scan It! system is designed both to save shoppers time, and offertargeted promotions based on current shopping behavior and purchase history. Here’s how the system works: Shoppers pick up a hand-held device as they enter a store and scan their loyaltycards, allowing the system to track the shopper's progress through the aisles.”

My Thoughts: I love this system. Its makes the experience easy for shoppers, delivers targeted promotions for brands and shoppers, and overall is a smart use of data and tech. 

Consumers will seek help to guide them through online product selection – – 3/30/08

“Overwhelmed by an ever-increasing variety of products and services for sale online andoverloaded with choice, consumers will demand better ways to quickly find what they are looking for with absolute accuracy. They will increasingly turn to price comparison sites, consumer ratings and reviews, and product finder and selection tools. Smart retailers has already offer enhanced product discovery tools, such as Cybertec Research’s Online Shopping Advisor software or HP’s Retail Store Assistant shopping assistant.“

My Thoughts: I find this interesting only because I am the opposite type of e-shopper. I like the research I get  to do. However, I think I am in the minority. So, this seems like the future of product search and its great to hear that sites are optimizing for it already. These days tech adoption needs to move at these types of speeds. 

Target Builds Snow Globe Effect as iPhone App - - 12/3/08

“Target is one of the first brands to create an iPhone application. The Target “gift globe” allows iPhone users to shake their phones to launch a snow-fall effect.”

My Thoughts: I was truly disappointed in this app as it was nothing more than window dressing with great press. It did little to enhance the shopping experience. 

Cents-Off Coupons and Other Special Deals, via Your Cellphone – NY Times 12/17/08

“Cellfire recently signed a deal with Kroger, the grocery chain, to show users a list of 10 to 30 offers, like 50 cents off Cottonelle toilet paper or 75 cents off a box of Chex cereal. When you select a discount, Cellfire feeds the coupon information directly to the grocer’s loyalty program. Users submit their loyalty program membership numbers to Cellfire; with subsequent swipes of the loyalty 

card, all of the chosen discounts are credited.”

My Thoughts: This is the future of couponing. Paperless, simple and secure. While the cell part might take some adoption, there are web versions for the less tech savvy shopper. But overall, the tie to loyalty cards means more targeted deals increasing relevance for shoppers and redemption for brands.

Mintel Predicts Top Trends for 2009 - You are in CONTROL – Business Wire11/11/08

“Over the years, people have become more confident and demanding about how they live their lives and spend their money. Even as a recession hits, they’ll want to stay in control of their choices wherever they can. Consumers will seek out products and services that give them exactly what they want, when they want it, especially as their budgets tighten. And the Internet will be key. It shows people every option available and gives them the power to demand more, while also allowing them to influence others through user reviews and feedback.”

“What it means for businesses: Manufacturers will respond with products that suit people’s specific needs and lifestyles. “Those companies that give consumers precisely what they want or give them the freedom to customize their purchases will do well. Companies that fail to do this will see consumers walk away,” says Joan Holleran. In addition, Baby Boomers will be of particular interest to businesses. Companies will move beyond traditional “old age” products and services to ones that embrace the active, healthy lifestyles of many older consumers.”

My Thoughts: We’ve known about consumer control for a while…(especially after Time Magazine made all of us, the person of the year in 2006.) However, the impact on shopping behavior on a broader scale is now starting to take effect and we can start reaping the benefits through smart marketing, or get left behind by remaining “mass marketers”.

Free Shipping: Facts, Trade-offs and Alternatives – 12/22/08

“If you look at the statistics, it would seem that the free shipping debate has all but been decided for online retailers. In a 2008 survey conducted by PayPal and comScore, 43 percent of shoppers said they abandon their shopping carts because of unexpectedly high shipping charges. Forrester Research reports that 61 percent of online shoppers prefer to shop with a retailer that offers free shipping than one that doesn't.”

My Thoughts: As a part of a brick ‘n’ mortar focused retail marketing agency, beginning to apply our long earned learnings to eCommerce, we face new challenges. However, getting at the same basic understanding of how shoppers, pull product off the shelf, put it in their cart and ultimately get through check out follows requires same discipline, just with new variables. And understanding facts like the above go a long way to driving conversion and creating happier clients.

Why Twitter Should Matter to E-Commerce Shops - 12/15/08

“Less altruistically, some businesses have discovered that Twitter is an effective way of

 communicating with consumers. Dell says Twitter has produced $1 million in revenue over the past year and a half through sale alerts. People who sign up to follow Dell on Twitter receive messages when discounted products are available the company's Home Outlet Store. They can click over to purchase the product or forward the information to others.

Dell started experimenting with Twitter in March of 2007 after the South by Southwest conference, an annual tech/music festival in Austin, Texas. Conference attendees could keep tabs on each other via a stream of Twitter messages on 60-inch plasma screens set up in the conference hallways. There are now 65 Twitter groups on, with 2,475 followers for the Dell Home Outlet Store.”

My Thoughts: Although ultimately disturbed by Twitter as I’m not sure that people care that much about what I do, minute by minute, as a marketing tool I love it.  From network TV programs to information companies, everyone is finding ways to make this short form messaging engine work hard for them.  

Amazon, eCommerce grow despite downturn –, 01.05.09

“while U.S. retail sales grew just 2 percent in the first nine months of 2008, eCommerce grew by 8 percent and Amazon's retail revenue in North America shot up 31 percent from the same period a year ago.”

My Thoughts: No Duh... To use an expression from years past. This wasn’t surprising as much as it validated what we already new. Shoppers were already going to the web to be better informed shoppers due to new financial stresses and as the top online e-tailer, Amazon stood the most to gain from this trend. “I love it when a plan comes to gather” – Hannibal from the A-Team.

E-Commerce Trends for 2008 and 2009: Trying to Cash In on Social Sites – 12/30/08

“Perhaps the biggest conundrum of 2008 in regard to online sales was how to make a profit by marketing and selling on social networks such as Facebook. Widgets and special e-commerce applications abound for social networks, but so far, members seem to want to communicate more than they want to shop.”

“Still, word-of-mouth marketing is powerful, and research continues to cite the fact that consumers continue to share — and trust — information about products they gain through social networks, even if they aren't actually making purchases there. So, we're certain in the coming year we will see more services and technology designed to help online businesses both market and sell through these sites.”

My Thoughts: This is a big challenge because linking sales back to word of mouth can sometimes be difficult. However, as the tool box for these technologies advance, hopefully as marketers we can engineer in some better metrics to show the value of 2.0 tech. Its there somewhere, like an answer on the tip of your tongue that you just can’t quite verbalize.  

Web Stores Score with Customer Ratings – eMarketer, 09.12.08

“Letting customers rate products on e-commerce sites is the top Web 2.0 spending priority, according to online retailers in the US surveyed in August 2008 by Vovici for Internet Retailer. Well over one-half (57%) of online pure plays said customer ratings and reviews were a priority for them. One-half were also intent on adding video.”


My Thoughts: Engagement and experience are something that online retailers are still working out.  There are many shoppers who still like going to the store because they feel that ecommerce while maybe simple and intuitive can lack a certain experiential factor. Just as in-store experiences have changed to accommodate shopper desires, it only follows that the web world will work the same. And lets be honest, it’s a lot cheaper and easier to change one website that redesign the interior of hundreds or thousands of stores.

Hope you enjoyed the little recap, if you want anymore info on any of these topics, please throw a comment in and I’ll get back to you.





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