- Published: October 4, 2013
For nearly 10 years, mobile commerce, which includes retail sales transacted over mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, has been forecasted to take off. Back in 2010 we noted that many had predicted mobile commerce would soon be the next big thing in the retail space. The only problem is that it did not quite happen as forecasted. A severe economic downturn seemed to take the steam out of forecaster's projections. Additionally, development of mobile commerce was slowed as companies were reluctant to invest in this channel until they were convinced it possessed real potential and was not just a fad.
But now, it appears strong feelings for the future of mobile commerce have returned. Internet Retailer is out with its annual report on mobile commerce sales and the numbers show strong growth, suggesting this channel may finally reach the heights many expect.
While the actual in-depth research report discussed in this story is not available for free ($75 for print version), this fairly detailed story does contain good summary statistics as well as examples of companies who are finding success in this channel. It also provides information on how well mobile commerce is fairing around the world.
- Published: October 2, 2013
Sure the U.S. market seems to have retail outlets on every corner and a shopping mall at every major highway intersection. And if the population of physical stores were not enough, consumers are continuing to direct more retail spending through online retailers. So what exactly would be the incentive for a retailer to open new locations, especially a foreign retailer that is new to the American market?
Some of those answers can be found in this Stores Magazine story. It discusses the influx of foreign retailers into the U.S. market. What lures these retailers? Money, of course. Spending by U.S. consumers is enormous. But placing stores in the U.S. may also improve the retailer’ image in its own country as a U.S. presence may give the impression that it is a prestigious global retailer.
While this story offers several nice examples of foreign retailers who are entering the U.S., it also discusses how foreign retailers may find the going to be difficult. The potential pitfalls are pointed out with a discussion of British retailer, Tesco, who did not achieve success and eventually pulled out of the American market after losing billions of dollars.
- Published: October 1, 2013
A major criticism leveled against for-profit companies is that they will only spend money when they believe it will benefit them financially. Of course, this view is extremely narrow, and likely is not even applicable to the vast majority of companies, who also make some decisions because they view these as being socially responsible, even if there is no obvious financial benefit for them.
One way we see this done is through so-called Cause Marketing. As the term suggests, Cause Marketing involves activities intended to align a company or a product with a specific cause. Here is a terrific example of such an alignment. As discussed in this New York Times story, leading food marketer, General Mills, is using Cause Marketing with its Green Giant brand. The cause is the prevention of bullying in schools and Green Giant is supporting this with print and online video ads. As noted in the story, the primary target market for this message is moms, who are also the key market for their products.
Additionally, this story presents a highly intriguing statistic. To show how valuable Cause Marketing can be, the story notes that when two competitive products are perceived as similar in terms of quality and price, 53% of customers will buy from the brand that is perceived as supporting social issues.
- Published: September 30, 2013
Fast-food outlets have struggled recently while the try to figure out how to satisfy the changing tastes of their customers. The most significant change is with customers’ demand for foods that are, at least marginally, healthier compared to traditional fast-food fare.
Now comes this story that may have implications for how people feel about fast-food service. Specifically, the story suggests customers who want to get their food at McDonalds, Burger King, Sonic, Carl’s Jr. and the like, are facing longer wait time. This is especially the case with food ordered through the drive-thru window.
According to this story, a key reason for the slowdown has to do with the changing product mix offered by these retail chains. In particular, menu items have become much more complex and, consequently, more challenging to make in a short time. At least in the time period in which customers have become accustom to receiving their order. Not only does this result in slower delivery, the story points out now order accuracy is declining as well, with Burger King ranking the lowest in overall order accuracy.
- Published: September 27, 2013
Every so often a technology is introduced that turns out to be much more than a fad. Instead, it becomes an integral component in everyday life and in business. Of course, easy examples of this are the Internet and smartphones, but over the years there are many other examples such as the handheld calculators, spreadsheet software, motion detectors, digital cameras, water faucets, to name just a few. Another technology that appears close to being necessary is the touch technology device. It is now appearing in many different applications including kiosks, thermostats and automobile displays.
As tablet technology evolves, more businesses are seeing marketing advantages in adopting these as part of everyday activity. This story from Self Service World offers a particularly convincing example of how tablet devices are being used by restaurants.
From a marketing standpoint, the devices are showing promise for not only streamlining ordering (i.e., the waitress or waiter only needs to press the pad), but it is also presenting advantages for improving customer service. For instance: tablets are replacing the printed menu with a more interactive option; tablets are making it easier for customers to pay their bill; and tablets are allowing customers to quickly and easily provide feedback on their dining experience.