•June 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Steve Frenda - Thinking About Retail

SF Comments: For many years, it has been the supermarket regional thought leaders that have had the most profound effect on change in the industry.

Whether they exhibit a gift for serving the needs of their communities, pushing the envelope of innovation, creating new shopping experiences that satisfy today’s shopper or simply partnering with their suppliers, these great companies create the standard for the industry.

I’m convinced it will happen again as our industry reinvents the outdated “marketing mix” that we have known for years. Traditional media that is stumbling, trip types that are confounding a merchant’s ability to serve and now a healthy dose of digital marketing from both retailers and manufacturers, will surely see these thought leaders play a vital role in re-inventing the relationship between supermarket operator, manufacturer and customer. We at the Institute stand ready to support those efforts.

In reading the following piece that originally…

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Shopper Marketing in 3 Words – Word Clouds

•October 21, 2011 • 1 Comment

A special thanks to Veronica Cano, Founder & Managing Director at MOT, a Shopper Marketing Agency in Argentina.

On our LinkedIn Group – The Path to Purchase Institute – Veronica started a discussion… “Describe Shopper Marketing in 3 Words”. We have had approximately 100 submissions, so I thought I would take that compilation to create a variety of word clouds.

See below and thanks to Veronica for her contribution.

Steve F.

Is This The Beginning Of The End For Retail Print Circulars As We Know Them?

•July 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

For some time now, I’ve anticipated the arrival of a digital application that would begin to signal a change in how retail prices are communicated to shoppers.

Today, national retailers such as Target, Best Buy, Walgreens, CVS, etc. are printing some 50 million circulars per week. One has to wonder how many of those even get past the recycle bin.

While the “solution” presented below doesn’t provide the entire answer, in that it needs some additional maturation and development,  it begins to provide a glimpse of the possible.

The Rather Boring Shopping List of Our Household

This month, Allyou.com with a circulation of approximately 1mm per month (part of Time Inc.’s Lifestyle Group of magazines and websites) added an interactive tool called Grocery Circular Roundup that enables consumers to browse grocery circulars nationwide in real time. Consumers can also enter their shopping lists to match desired items with local sales. Users can search by product or brand and view products aisle-by-aisle, grouped by food category.

Items selected for purchase are added to a shopping list and fully integrated with printable manufacturer coupons that can be redeemed at the retailer.

In addition to the functionality offered to consumers and shoppers, manufacturers can place display advertising on the application. Advertisers can geo-target specific products and messages to specific users based on zip codes and retailer availability as well as by grocery category.

The application, Grocery Circular Roundup reports that it covers more than 275 U.S. grocery chains, representing approximately 49,000 grocery stores and drug stores that sell grocery products.

The Power of Retail Regional Thought Leaders

•June 11, 2011 • 1 Comment

SF Comments: For many years, it has been the supermarket regional thought leaders that have had the most profound effect on change in the industry.

Whether they exhibit a gift for serving the needs of their communities, pushing the envelope of innovation, creating new shopping experiences that satisfy today’s shopper or simply partnering with their suppliers, these great companies create the standard for the industry.

I’m convinced it will happen again as our industry reinvents the outdated “marketing mix” that we have known for years. Traditional media that is stumbling, trip types that are confounding a merchant’s ability to serve and now a healthy dose of digital marketing from both retailers and manufacturers, will surely see these thought leaders play a vital role in re-inventing the relationship between supermarket operator, manufacturer and customer. We at the Institute stand ready to support those efforts.

In reading the following piece that originally appeared in The Hub, I want to recommend that all trading partners absorb the principles that Terry Mangano of Catapult Marketing offers. Bigger is not always better. These retailers have spent their lives proving it.


Tier-Two Retailers – Smaller, regional chains offer strong opportunities for sales growth.

By: Terry Mangano, evp of Catapult Action-Biased Marketing, Appeared in the March/April issue of The Hub Magazine

As more consumer packaged-goods companies focus shopper-marketing resources against the top 6-8 national, “tier one” customers, there has been a sudden resurgence to find opportunistic volume among “tier two” customers.

Regional grocery chains such as Stater Brothers, Wegmans, Hy-Vee, Wakefern/ShopRite, Harris Teeter, Giant Eagle, Meijer and Roundy’s suddenly are emerging as the new darlings of shopper marketing. It is not difficult to understand why; results consistently exceed expectations for sales dollars, units moved, and feature/display.

These tier-two retailers provide much stronger gives and gets, deliver strong return-on-investment, and work with manufacturers and brands in true collaborative partnerships. However, this is not a recent phenomenon. Tier-two customers have a long history of delivering strong shopper-marketing performance.

And yet, the natural tendency for most companies is to bundle together all tier-two customers as one large homogenous group of retailers. It’s just easier to deal with one classification and not worry about Robinson-Patman issues. Shopper-marketing staff support at headquarters may be limited or overtaxed, working budgets may be finite and fixed, and the actual sales calls on these customers may be indirectly controlled by a broker rep rather than a national account manager.

Besides, it’s not easy to step back and define how the resource allocation issue should be resolved. As a brand manager, it’s challenging to field requests from the sales teams without a specific channel strategy to identify which classes of trade represent higher brand or business priorities.

As a sales team leader, it is difficult to plead your case for shopper-marketing funds when you don’t know the brands’ marketing objectives or have access to shopper-marketing managers who can help connect the shopper insights for a specific retailer. There is also the frustration of seeing the volume opportunity, wanting to realize the volume, but being unable to assist, either due to lack of time or funding.

Consequently, tier-two customers fall into the abyss of limited-menu marketing support, trade marketing funded shopper-marketing support, or no shopper-marketing support at all. It is certainly not intentional; it just happens. The irony is that these tier-two customers routinely deliver the highest variable margin contributions and greater opportunities for brand and category growth. The solution can be found in three key action steps: 1) Forward planning; 2) Investment criteria; and 3) Empowerment.

Bob Mariano, CEO of Wisconsin Based Roundy's Supermarkets Pays Attention to Every Detail

Forward Planning. Start now to solicit 2012 action plans for select tier-two customers. Provide the sales teams with clearly defined templates with measurable performance inputs to enable the ability to scorecard the proposals in rank descending order.

Investment Criteria. It’s not just a matter of return-on-investment; other qualitative factors such as supporting key brand initiatives, new brand launches or line extensions, and driving trial against targeted shopper segments, also carry a weighted factor in the evaluation of where to allocate shopper-marketing funds. For example, increasing household penetration among Hispanic families may influence a higher weighted factor in the consideration set.

Empowerment. The toughest challenge for brand managers is to empower the sales teams to get it done while complying with the overall brand directives and brand essence. With a good communication process to keep brand management or shopper-marketing managers informed, this can certainly be accomplished.

From a pure brand investment perspective, a shopper-marketing dollar invested in select, tier-two retailers is guaranteed to deliver better results than a dollar invested in straight trade marketing, advertising, or national consumer promotion. It is not uncommon for select tier-two retailers to deliver 5:1 return-on-investment, or 3:1 incremental return-on-investment.

The key to success is selective shopper-marketing investment based on solid rationale. One cannot invest shopper-marketing dollars against tier-two retailers on an ad hoc basis. There must be method to the investment, a strategic vision, historical performance indicators, and reliable retail activation execution.

Surgical Precision Required

Here are some ways to invest against tier-two customers with surgical precision:

Geographic Concentricity. Establish beachheads of brand strength (usually strong CDI/BDI clusters) and focus shopper-marketing dollars against total clusters. Once these clusters are firmly entrenched, expand support gradually to surrounding markets and tier-two customers in a Doppler effect. Think of how Walgreens established beachheads in Southern California, Texas, Illinois, and Florida — then expanded its stores in a concentric circle until it became one enormous national chain.

Targeted Shopper Segmentation. Examine the goodness of fit between tier-two customers who identified specific shopper segments and the branded target consumers. Where there is evidentiary proof that targeted marcom messages evoke purchase behavior, be the bulldog on the porkchop.

Extraordinarily High Gives and Gets. Monitor performance among certain tier-two customers over time and you’ll discover similar results again and again. This is no accident. It happens by design because this handful of customers consistently deliver solid in-store execution, compliance to features/displays, and order enough product to support retail activation.

Category Focus. If your brand category is among the customer’s top 3-5 categories-of-focus in the coming year, it only makes sense to share the same category growth objective.

Pilot Programs. Smaller regional chains often make ideal test markets for concepts that involve new shelf merchandising, loyalty programs, and innovative ways to improve in-store shopping behavior. These pilot programs may involve new technology with smart phones, opt-in online advocacy, or cause-marketing outreach tied to purchase.

Early Adopters. Find the short list of risk-averse early adopters. These are the buyers willing to try something new, and to break what’s not broken in an attempt to drive incremental sales. Your sales teams know who these buyers are — they have “Beat Walmart” tattoos.

Of course, there will always be a need for turnkey menu-marketing programs. Consistent brand equity building is the primary reason, but others include leveraging national consumer promotion platforms or key branded drive programs; seasonal themed events; sports sponsorships, event marketing; new product launches or new line extensions; and brand activity focus.

Is menu marketing the “one size fits all” solution for tier-two customers? No. It is an option, and an affordable option, but there will always be select tier-two customers worthy of shopper-marketing funds above and beyond menu marketing.

Thirty years ago, as an impressionable assistant brand manager, a wise vice president of marketing told me that “a marketing dollar is a marketing dollar — use it wisely.” Those words ring truer today than ever before.

Don’t dismiss tier-two customers or lump them together under menu marketing. Spend the time to identify true opportunity volume and invest with surgical precision. Start now to solicit proposals from field sales — you just might be surprised to rediscover volume opportunity among tier-two retailers.

Source: The Hub Magazine  

StratConn Event: Retail & Shopper Insights – 1/19 & 1/20

•December 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Below is some info on the upcoming Retail and Shopper Insights StratConn — This will be our 4th annual.

Immediately below I have included the roster of the nearly 30 brand manufacturers and retailers we have recruited for the upcoming January 19th-20th event. You will see the titles by company of the committed individuals.

Also, if you scroll down you will see vendors that are scheduled to participate.

This is early to have this robust a roster of commitments as this – this is a nearly full complement of “Guests” – which seems to bode well for the market activity we’ll see in 2011. (I don’t think I’m that good)
If you are a potential “Guest” who is a brand manufacturer or retailer their is no event fee and we even pick up hotels and meals.
The “Hosts” or vendors that attend the event in effect sponsor it… Our 75% repeat rate among Hosts is indicative of the phenomenal cost/value that is generated by having at least 15 – 30 minute “speed dating” meetings over 1 1/2 days.
The following is a roster of the Retail & Shopper insights companies scheduled to attend.
  1. Actionspeak
  2. Bellomy Research
  3. Brandtrust
  4. Brandtruth
  5. Buxton
  6. Crossmark Insights
  7. Decision Insight Inc.
  8. EmSense
  9. Fifth Dimension
  10. In Context Solutions
  11. In Vivo BVA USA
  12. Interscope
  13. Retail Data LLC
  14. RTC
  15. Shopper Gauge (Rock-Tenn)
  16. SmartRevenue
  17. Spire LLC
  18. Tobii
  19. VeraQuest
  20. WSL Strategic Retail
Please call with questions – Mycontact info is below. Steve F.

Steve Frenda
Managing Director, Strategy and Development
The In-Store Marketing Institute
7400 Skokie Blvd.
Skokie, IL 60077
(O) 847-675-7400 ext. 178
(C) 847-533-9278

Foursquare, Safeway and PepsiCo Team Up in CPG First

•November 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Need I say more… You can go to the Vons website to see an overview of the program.  http://www.vons.com/IFL/Grocery/FoursquareBelow are links to FAQ’s that the site provides. Interesting…the FAQ’s are linked to an e-centives.com host, which is a newly acquired unit of Catalina Marketing.

First image below is the “offer” I received by linking my Safeway Club Card to the program — FYI, been using the Safeway card since I lived in CA and Kroger/Safeway make no distinctions on allowing you to sign up for programs across the divisions. It will be interesting to see whether my first purchase from Dominick’s results in the free coupon.
A rather lengthy detailed article written by Fast Company last week is shown below.
Not sure how effectively this will effectively deliver value to the shopper, but it sure bears watching closely.

Fast Company Exclusive: Foursquare’s New Partnership With PepsiCo Takes Focus Off of Places

BY AUSTIN CARRThu Nov 18, 2010

Foursquare’s pilot program, launching today, breaks away from Facebook Places and Gowalla with badges and discounts based not only on locations but your reasons for being there.

Foursquare Pepsi

Foursquare is partnering with PepsiCo and Safeway to launch a pilot program which could serve as the future of the company’s business model–and as an answer to competitors Facebook Places and Gowalla.

Today, the New York-based geo-location service will introduce a rewards platform built on top of Safeway’s existing loyalty program. The platform enables users to link their Safewayloyalty accounts to Foursquare, and earn rewards from check-ins. It is designed to be scalable, which means any other national retailer–perhaps even Walmart–could link its existing loyalty program to Foursquare.

Foursquare has also designed a unique vehicle for check-in rewards that is far less linear and ephemeral than traditional location-based reward programs. Rather than, say, earning a free coffee for becoming “mayor” of Starbucks (or just giving away 10,000 pairs of free jeans like Facebook and Gap’s one-off promo), Foursquare and PepsiCo have tailored rewards to user behavior, irrespective of in-store check-ins. Now, when participating customers earn Foursquare’s “Gym Rat” badge, they might be offered a SoBe Lifewater; or, if you often check in bright and early, Foursquare will recognize you’re a morning person, and may offer Tropicana orange juice or Quaker Oats–all specials on PepsiCo products, redeemable at Safeway stores.

“By connecting Foursquare to loyalty cards, it’s seamless,” says Tristan Walker, head of business development at Foursquare. “The idea is: How can we redefine what loyalty means not only for retailers but for consumer packaged goods? How can we give them an opportunity to connect with consumers through Foursquare and build affection for their brands?”

The three-month pilot program will start at some 300 Vons stores in southern California (Vons is owned by Safeway). Could this be the scalable business model that enables Foursquare to eventually monetize?

“Yes, 100%,” says Walker. “But before we go gang-busters, we’re going to see what works: see if we can drive higher redemption, and inspire repeat visits. We have really ambitious plans, and if you start to think of Foursquare as social loyalty, then you can start to see how it crosses the gambit of industry and products. If it works, I think we have something very special and very, very powerful.”

The issue with past check-in promotions–like Facebook’s deal with Gap or perhaps Gowalla’s partnership with Disney–was that the platforms were not seamlessly integrated–and therefore not scalable. “How can we find ways to take the employees completely out of the equation?” asks Walker. The solution: by connecting Foursquare accounts to stores’ existing loyalty cards and programs. “We are intimately aware that training employees is difficult. Today, when you see a special, you check in to unlock it and show your phone to redeem it. That’s very hard to scale, particularly when you deal with chains that have thousands of stores, tens of thousands of employees, and high-turnover rates,” he says.

“But the platform’s most important layer is allowing opportunities for retailers and brands to learn more about their consumers–to learn a little bit about the things I like to do, even outside that venue.”

Collecting consumer data outside the venue is incredibly valuable for tailoring an effective rewards experience. Before, check-in services offered minimal insight: users check in at Starbucks; earn and redeem vouchers for free coffee; and therefore drink coffee. (As if Starbucks couldn’t have assumed that about their customers.) The services were also not viable for product manufacturers. PepsiCo, after all, is not a location that you can check in to.

How can consumer goods makers utilize geo-location? Imagine the potential of Foursquare’s new program: Do we feel like drinking Gatorade after checking in at baseball practice? Do we want an AMP Energy drink when checking in at the library? A Mountain Dew when checking in at the ski resort?

It’s these types of rewards that will create store and product loyalty, and that are attracting big brands such as Safeway and PepsiCo.

“Our goal is to learn how location will ultimately drive human behavior,” says Bonin Bough, director of PepsiCo Digital and Social Media. “We know the opportunity is massive, so this is about digital R&D: What’s working? How do you turn consumer insight into more engagement? How will these behavior triggers ultimately tie into a bigger strategy? That’s what will separate the winners from the losers.”

Walker even sees significant opportunity to inspire or change user behavior. He talks about how Foursquare’s game mechanics and badges might help push users to eat healthier food, or buy a given number of vegetables, or to purchase products starting with every letter A to Z.

“That might inspire you to visit Vons one more time to unlock that badge, versus visiting the retailer next door,” he says.

For us, the real question isn’t whether your local Safeway can win against its competitor, but whether Foursquare can win against its rival. With 500 million potential users, Facebook Places and its recently launched Deals platform makes Foursquare (along with its 4 million users) the underdog. Was this program a response to Facebook’s entry?

“It’s not a response because we’ve been working on this for the past year,” Walker says. “It’s not about deals. Deals are certainly the icing on the cake, but when we think about creating loyalty, it isn’t about only getting a coupon every fifth time you visit. Loyalty is about the local merchant remembering your name and order. Loyalty is about getting a sign on a table at Arby’s saying only the mayor can sit here. Our platform can be a vehicle for that.”

Walmart Continues to Post Weak U.S. Sales

•November 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Walmart is fighting hard to re-establish its price leadership and volume with aggressive promotional efforts supporting grocery and holiday campaigns.

Overall, net sales for the third quarter increased 2.6% to $101.2 billion, driven by a sizable 9.3% gain at Walmart International. And income from continuing operations rose to $3.4 billion, from $.3.2 billion in the third quarter last year. But in the U.S., comp-store sales fell 1.3% — the sixth straight quarter of declining sales domestically. They report decreases stem from both less traffic and smaller transactions.

Walmart already releasing their Black Friday ad

We observed there were a lot more new shoppers with BMW’s and Audi’s dotting Walmart parking lots when the economy was at its worst. There was always the question as to what  kind of job Walmart would do keeping those shoppers when the economy leveled off. How would shoppers react to the Walmart shopping experience which is at best, inconsistent where new stores and remodels are a patchwork around the country?

Combine that with the increasing economic pressure on its core, lower-income shoppers (68% of Wal-Mart’s customers earn less than $70,000 per year), and you’ve got Walmart’s current dilemma.

Price Comparison and Guarantee Ad in Sunday FSI

Still, Walmart says the U.S. business is “on the right track…Walmart U.S. will be the price leader this holiday season, and I am confident about improving comp trends for the fourth quarter,” Mike Duke, president/CEO Wal-Mart Stores, said in the company’s earnings release. 

For the fourth quarter, the chain is now forecasting comp store sales results anywhere in the range of  -1% to a gain of 2%. “Like back-to-school and Halloween, we expect that a lot of the spending will come close to Christmas,” Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., offered on the earnings call.

He added that the company’s marketing message will continue to stress savings and we are seeing that in their promotional efforts. “Our holiday message is focused on basket savings. We believe that we have the right level of media buy for the fourth quarter. We also have increased our efficiencies through a program of digital, print and electronic buys. We have a number of aggressive programs underway to reach the customers often and early for the holidays.”

4 Page Circular in Selected Markets

Those steps include offering free shipping on 60,000 items from Walmart.com, for example, distributing both toy catalogs and their “Black Friday” ad featuring strong electronics pricing already and opening at midnight on Friday the 26th.