Online and mobile marketing have turned the retail supply chain upside-down. Gone are the days of moving volumes of product in efficient, bulk moves to stores across the world. Today, smaller shipments rule the supply chain, delivering — literally — on brand promises to ensure receipt of single, customized packages under same-day or next-day delivery.
It seems everywhere you turn there is yet another headline questioning whether traditional retail stands on the brink of extinction due to the rise of showrooming. And it’s not hard to see how the practice of visiting a brick-and-mortar store to try out a product before ultimately purchasing it through an online merchant got its start. As humans, we have an innate need to see, hear, smell, feel and manipulate objects in our physical world.
Allow me to be the group historian for a minute. Does anyone remember, in 1984, the "Crafted with Pride in the U.S.A." advertising campaign, spearheaded by the late Roger Milliken, and funded by a consortium of fiber, chemical and textile companies? This was supposed to have instilled enough patriotism in the consumer to buy goods made in America at a furious enough rate to keep manufacturing here on our soil.
Retail innovation cycles last approximately 20 years. As we take a look at retail history, this cycle becomes self-evident. From the general store to department stores to discount stores and so forth, each variety has their day in the sun as the leading channel for most purchases. Today, we’re lucky enough to be living within two powerful cycles simultaneously. But the fun will soon come to an end.
Absent a major upheaval caused by the inability of our politicians in Washington to reach reasonable compromises on debt reduction and the debt ceiling, 2013 could finally be the year when the economy starts to pick up a more significant amount of momentum.
Developments in portable technologies of all kinds have created an increasingly connected world. Aside from the obvious ubiquity of mobile phones (there are nearly six billion of them in use today), everyday objects from pedometers to thermostats are being infused with digital technologies, and networked to one another.
Mobile, social, solution, cloud, big data, SaaS, optimize and engage. It was impossible to have a conversation at the National Retail Federation convention in New York without hearing these words a lot.
The 2012 holiday shopping season featured stores opening earlier on Thanksgiving, extended hours shopping marathons, and, according to the National Retail Federation, an additional 585,000 to 625,000 seasonal retail workers.
In today’s connected world, complex technologies are creating richer consumer experiences, but are also creating greater expectations. With the explosion of connected and mobile devices in recent years, consumers now have better control of their interactions with the companies whom they choose to do business with than ever before.
With shoppers making fewer trips and impulse purchases, the need to influence them earlier and more frequently in the purchase decision-making cycle is critical for sales success. To accomplish this, consumer packaged goods (CPG) retailers and manufacturers are increasingly using cooperative advertising and promotion programs that target shoppers at home when they are most likely to be planning shopping trips and creating lists. As retailers, understanding what your competition is planning for in-home is just as essential to staying competitive as what’s happening in-store.
Many retailers have been slow to embrace technology in their broader operations, technology that has already changed the retail landscape forever – namely by empowering shoppers who are now more tech savvy than the retailers who are trying to catch up.
As a leading retailer, you know what your customer wants, and you’ve done the hard work of building the right assortment, sourcing from the right factories, and making it available in time for the season. Now you need to make sure that your customers can have what they want when they want it.
For months, the debate over healthcare has almost exclusively focused on the individual-mandate, as we waited on the Supreme Court to determine the fate of the law. As a result many complex and crucial pieces of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), such as the employer-mandate, have received comparatively little attention. Given the enormous implications of changes to employer-sponsored coverage and the 170 million Americans who currently rely on it for coverage, it is time that more attention is paid to the issue.
You can learn a lot by monitoring consumer conversations in social media. It can predict political elections, the Oscars and even the next reality show winner. If you are a CPG marketer, social media can also be a real-time predictor of your new product’s success.