4 Q’s on the 4 with Ira Hernowitz

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To kick off our 4 questions on the 4 o’clock hour blog series, we asked our latest webinar panelist and retail marketing industry leader, Ira Hernowitz, to answer four questions that we feel have a significant impact on, shoppers, brands and retailers during the post-holiday shopping season. Who better to grace us with their expertise than a man who’s been in business for more than 25 years now! Here’s Ira’s take on how brick-and-mortar businesses can excel in not only the last few weeks of the year but, year-round.

Question #1: How can brands and retailers capitalize on both brick-and-mortar and ecommerce shoppers during the post-holiday timeframe and what should they do to bridge the two experiences together?

ira_1_150jpgAnswer: Statistics show 94% of retail sales are still generated in brick-and-mortar stores. But at the same time, online commerce continues to grow at a great rate, and mobile commerce is growing even faster.  These statistics speak to this incredible convergence we’re seeing where ecommerce starts and ends and where brick-and-mortar begins. They are really becoming quite seamless. With that in mind, 55% of online shoppers would prefer to buy from a merchant with a physical store over an online-only retailer and 64% of people think that customer experience is more important than price in their choice of brand. These two statistics illustrate the burden that brick-and-mortar retailers now have to create not only an inviting shopping environment, but an overall great experience for shoppers. Retailers cannot take shoppers for granted in any way. When they are in in the store, retailers must communicate with them in the most powerful way possible and take advantage of the fact that they are in a completely different world than they were in the past.

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Question #2: How has the retail business changed over the last few years and what are the opportunities?

Answer: Today we live in what I like to call “real time retail.”  For example, in the old school retail world, most retailers were focused on getting into the new season immediately after Christmas. Now they need to think of the week following Christmas as an extension of the holiday season as there is more shopper opportunity than ever before. The biggest factor driving this has been the massive growth in gift cards, which now accounts for billions of dollars in shopper purchases immediately following Christmas. Retailers want to maximize their opportunity with those shoppers who are, as I like to think of it, burning holes in their pockets with gift cards. Secondly, in the time frame of the holidays, the most powerful word for marketing is “new.” Retailers are planning new, getting new merchandise quicker, and the power of telling a new story when people may have been shopped out, but are back in your store again, is an untapped opportunity. Lastly, retailers have the opportunity to thoughtfully plan the weeks following Christmas thanks to new technologies.

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Question #3: How is the shopper mentality evolving?

Answer: There are quite a few elements to look at when it comes to evaluating the evolution of the shopper. First there is the the increased use of mobile. With 72% of millennial shoppers doing their initial research on their smartphones before purchasing in store, mobile is undoubtedly where a lot of opportunity lies. ShopAdvisor is critical in that opportunity pattern. Next we have the omnichannel experience. The ability to engage the shopper across multiple channels — online, offline, mobile and in-store — is imperative in making the shopper’s path-to-purchase experience seamless. Another consideration is the idea of impulse versus planned shopping.  Before Christmas most of it is planned, but after we see a big swing to the impulse side. A big factor driving this are gift cards. There is a lot of opportunity for a retailer to get their share of impulse dollars during the post-holiday season. Rewards and loyalty programs can play a significant role as well. These customer based programs are a paramount now and offer a great opportunity to not only communicate with consumers, but to also gain an understanding of their shopping patterns and take advantage of them in a more personal way. And finally, as previously mentioned, the rise in gift cards, cash gift cards and digital coupons.  These can drive very loyal customers into stores who are motivated to buy products.  The bottom line is that consumers are smarter and more informed now more than ever. What retailers, brands and agencies need to be thinking about is how to integrate all of these factors into a post-holiday marketing plan that can be incredibly powerful.

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Question #4: What are some of the biggest drive-to-store opportunities during the post-holiday timeframe?

Answer: No one can argue that gift cards are one of the biggest opportunities here. The aggregate gift card business reached $130 billion dollars last year and we can safely assume that around 40% of those sales were in the last eight weeks of the year.  Additionally, most consumers are reaching into their wallets pretty substantially when using gift cards, spending up to 40% beyond the value of the card. That gift card is a powerful tool!  A retailer’s job is to really maximize the return on those consumers when they come into the store. Another opportunity is the exchanges and returns process. One of the biggest opportunities that retailers miss is the buy online and return in store. They need to make the return process as seamless as possible.  They also need to be thinking about now that the consumer is in the store, what is the best way to get them to stay and potentially buy more products? Lastly, there’s no denying that stores will always have a clearance/sales mentality during this time frame. Combing clearance/sales with gift cards and potentially even adding value on the gift card for purchases within the clearance are ways to get those baskets sizes up and get more product out the door.

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As you can see, the opportunities that brands and retailers have in the weeks following Christmas are certainly there. What it comes down to, is thinking smarter and really taking the time to tap into your consumer’s shopping habits, brand preferences and disposable income so that you can provide an unparalleled path-to-purchase experience for them.  By leveraging the latest developments in mobile technology and proximity marketing, brands and retailers can become more agile and nimble marketers.

We want to thank our friend, Ira Hernowitz, for sharing his knowledge with us! In the words of the noble Thomas Edison, “opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work.”

Happy Holidays!

Webinar Preview: How Proximity Marketing Can Deliver What Santa Forgot

ShopAdvisor welcomes former Toys R Us and Hasbro executive and current CEO of Kindara, Ira Hernowitz, for an informative webinar about the importance of the week after Christmas. For most retailers it’s the second highest revenue producing week of the year, making it a critical time for driving shoppers into brick-and-mortar locations using mobile proximity marketing programs.

If you’re like me, your day starts with a cup of Joe and an endless array of news feeds. Recently, my social media channels have been flooded with Black Friday reports from David Kaplan of GeoMarketing, Cyber Monday statistics from marketingdrive.com, and week before Christmas shopping predictions that seem to get even crazier each year. Don’t get me wrong, as a marketer, I love these stories. They inspire me to think creatively and give me the opportunity to do what I love. However, right about now, I am on Christmas data overload and I haven’t even put up my Christmas tree yet!

what-santa-forgot-squareWe tend to hear so much hype around what brands, retailers and shoppers can expect in the weeks leading up to Christmas that we often forget to examine the immense opportunity that lies in the immediate post-holiday time frame. At ShopAdvisor, we see the week after Christmas as a gold mine for the retail industry.

With returns, exchanges, gift cards, blowout sales and foot traffic at their highest, we believe that keeping the holiday spirit alive can actually create a springboard effect into the new year. Rather than thinking of the week after Christmas as a time to move inventory quickly off the shelves, brands and retailers should be thinking smarter about what they can do to get their share of year-end revenue and secure the loyalty of existing customers, as well as win over new ones. By employing mobile proximity marketing programs, retail marketers can get more bang for their marketing buck and ring in the new year with with innovative mobile marketing, digital advertising and consumer engagement strategies.

ira_1_150jpgForget Santa Claus and Christmas. We give you Ira Hernowitz and a webinar! Who better to chat clicks-to-bricks with than a man who’s been at the forefront of marketing and business development for big name brands and retailers such as Toys R Us, Stride Rite, and Hasbro? Ira may not be Santa Claus, but he’s ready to “gift us” with his years of experience in integrated consumer marketing, retail strategy, sales, product development and brand building. Not to mention, he has a real passion and skill for leading companies into successful outcomes.

“Ira is a stellar marketer and overall business person. He fully understands and is adept at driving the business forward in a manner that builds the brand and that creates value for his customers and the company. He also is a highly effective leader who can inspire his associates and build an organization.”Frank P Bifulco Jr, EVP Global Marketing, Staples

So, if you are a brand or retail executive, marketing guru, agency account rep, or even a small business owner, we encourage you to grab your hot chocolate and join us for a unique learning experience on Tuesday, December 6th at 1:30pm.

In a half-hour, we will cover:

  • The evolving nature of shopping and shoppers
  • Post-holiday shopping trends and opportunities
  • What you need to know about today’s omnichannel shopper
  • Three drive-to-store opportunities to capitalize on
  • What brands & retailers need to be thinking about after Christmas
  • The data and contextual experiences needed to speed shopper’s path to purchase
  • Three examples of making proximity marketing work for you

Register Here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5836695182544828931

ShopAdvisor and Mobee Whip Up a New Dish of Hyperlocal Proximity Marketing Just in Time for the Holidays

img_5874-1With Thanksgiving, and the entire holiday season, right around the corner, I can’t help but think of all the delicious food I am going to spend hours cooking, and minutes devouring. Earlier this week, ShopAdvisor  added a new ingredient to their recipe book by teaming up with Mobee to deliver the industry’s most granular, real-time product availability information for hyperlocal proximity marketing campaigns. With improved location awareness technology and richer product availability data, consumers can now “have their cake and eat it too” when using their smartphones while shopping at their beloved brick-and-mortar locations.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Mobee’s ingredient uses offline data, insights and crowdsourcing to collect, organize and analyze consumer data at scale. Via its mobile app, Mobee collects thousands of data points and photos through it’s “Mobee Missions” and then delivers analytics and insights to a customizable dashboard in real-time. Mix that up with ShopAdvisor’s Intelligence Suite and you have a recipe that is uniquely positioned to support the explosive growth of hyperlocal marketing campaigns through product availability information on tens of millions of SKUs, in more than two hundred thousand retail locations.

The taste test concludes that Mobee’s “Missions” definitely add some flavor to ShopAdvisor’s context intelligence capabilities by allowing Mobee app users to answer consumer sentiment questions from any place, at any time, and yet conveniently, just in time for Black Friday.

So, what did we learn? The secret ingredient isn’t always just a pinch of something. In this case, it’s a big ol’ cup of teamwork. Bon Appétit!

You can read the full press release here.

 

Proxbook Proximity Industry Report is Out

Proxbook’s Q3 State of the Proximity Industry came out this week and we at ShopAdvisor always look forward to seeing what it reveals.

In addition to updating us on general market trends and stats, Proxbook takes a deeper dive into a specific industry to examine how proximity marketing is progressing there. This time they looked at transportation and airports and and the findings are pretty impressive. Turns out that airports are really a great environment for proximity marketing. They’re like perfect petri dishes where all the elements come together to provide a place where proximity marketing can develop and flourish.

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So what makes them so great? Here are some of Proxbook’s findings:

  • U.S. airports have more visitors annually than retailers, theme parks and stadiums combined.
  • 89% of air travelers are carrying smartphones and are using them to help with ticketing, finding gates, locating shops and restaurants, tracking luggage and more.
  • 35% of the top 25 U.S. airports have beacons deployed and 84% of airports are planning more sensor deployments over the next 3 years.
  • 50% of airports view proximity as opening up new revenue streams for them and their tenants.

In addition to these overall stats the report provided some great case studies on proximity implementations in airports around the world, including Brussels. Munich, Boryspil and San Diego.

From an overall proximity market perspective the numbers continue to go up.  In Q3, sensor deployment by the companies followed by Proxbook grew 42% over Q2.

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In addition to continued infrastructure growth products and services are increasing as well.  We’re happy to say that holds true for us as we’ve continued to grow, adding customers from many new segments within retail and CPG.  Proxbook’s findings echo what we’re seeing by reporting that proximity advertising networks — enabling 3rd party brand to deliver hyperlocal, targeted promotions and offers — is the area with the most growth.

So what do we learn from this report? Well, the obvious answer is proximity marketing is really taking off.  Bad pun I know. But we think its more than that. We think the underlying message is that the possibilities for proximity marketing are boundless and we’re just starting to scratch the surface.

The Aggregate Series 9

 

With Halloween behind us its getting to be that time of year. But we’re not talking about the Holidays. Rather, its the season when we begin to see market forecasts and predictions for 2017 appear. If you are a mobile marketer, or provide the data and tools that power mobile proximity marketing campaigns, then 2017 is shaping up to be a very big year. Here are some of big predictions that came out this week, which we’re excited about.

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Zach Rogers, Executve Editor at AdExchanger took a look at Facebook’s Q3 earnings and his findings reveal a bright picture for mobile advertising, which accounted for 84% of the growth in Facebook’s YOY ad growth. In a direct correlation, Facebook’s mobile daily active users grew 22% compared to Q3 2015, surpassing 1 billion. Meanwhile, monthly active user are approaching 2 billion, having grown 16% year over year. This is more evidence of the growing power of the mobile consumer and the opportunity for brands and retailers to reach them through contextually relevant proximity-based marketing campaigns.

Our friends over at GeoMarketing published an interesting piece on a study from BIA/Kelsey, which predicts that “Total local ad revenues will reach $148.8 billion in 2017, up 2.4 percent from 2016.” Associate Editor Lauryn Chamberlain reported that the continued growth in the local ad space is attributable to a mix of factors including consumers willing to share their location and that local product inventory availability data is improving.  This is music to our ears at ShopAdvisor as these are a couple of the areas in which our platform excels.

Finally, eMarketer produced a podcast and a story on the “Five Mobile Commerce Predictions for 2017.” For us, the most telling piece of information is how fast SmartPhones have become the dominant device for driving Mcommerce sales and the hockey stick growth it will continue to have through 2020, when it will account for nearly 80% of all Mcommerce sales.

Lots of number being thrown around, but if we net it all out it tells us that the scales are now firmly tilted toward mobile shopping and that brands, retailers, agencies, mall operators and media companies will need to move quickly to ensure and grow their stakes in this market.

 

Proximity Marketing Will Get Smarter through Nielsen Connected Partner Program

We have some really exciting news to report. ShopAdvisor is an inaugural member of Nielsen’s Connected Partner Program.  Nielsen officially introduced the program today. ShopAdvisor is the first mobile proximity marketing platform provider to qualify for this prestigious standing.nielsen_connectedpartner_seal_color2

The Nielsen Connected Partner Program is an industry first solution for companies serving the CPG and retail industries.  This Connected Partner Program enables partner companies and Nielsen clients to find each other and collaborate in an open ecosystem, freeing them from common barriers to connecting applications and data sets at scale. Nielsen’s CPG data is the DNA of this program and is the most robust retail and shopper information available in the world.  Through a mutual data source, the Nielsen Connected Partner Program ultimately enables Nielsen clients and partners to easily bridge their insights and harness the data necessary to net mutually beneficial results.

This development follow on the heels of the launch of our enhanced platform, which includes the expansion of AppNET,  our network of mobile app providers who integrate our location, shopper and retail product availability information into their apps.  In becoming a Nielsen Connected Partner we build on our extensive retail product availability intelligence. We use Nielsen to significantly enhance our Product Intelligence. When this is coupled with our Context Intelligence, which can customize messaging and targeting based on factors like time of day, weather, and proximity to a retail store, as well as with our Shopper Intelligence that can personalize an experience using brand, retailer, and category affinities, the combination creates compelling drive-to-store campaigns. 

The Nielsen Connected Partner Program is another example of how quickly the market for proximity marketing is coming together. The increased data sharing opportunities provided by the program will translate into more intelligent and contextually relevant campaigns, which will engage consumers at the right time with the right products in the right location that will drive their path to purchase in brick and mortar stores.

 

 

The Aggregate: Series 8

As September draws to a close, it’s safe to say the holiday season is quickly approaching – and with that, conversations have turned to what that means for retail sales, and the impact mobile campaigns will have on holiday shopping. Helping to fuel this conversation are the recent release of several research studies which report some rather staggering numbers on the growth of mobile proximity marketing for the holidays and beyond. And of course, another mainstay of our chatter has also inevitably turned to proximity marketing and the growth of the industry on this week’s series of the Aggregate:

  • Holiday Retail Ecommerce Sales Will Grow 17% this Year” via eMarketer
    This year promises to be the biggest for ecommerce yet — representing 10.7% of the overall holiday sales. In-store sales will still drive the majority of purchases; however, as ecommerce increases in its prowess, marketers need to take notice of how much mobile will be part of that. According to eMarketer, mobile continues to propel ecommerce growth rates as well. US retail mcommerce sales will increase a whopping 43.2% in 2016 to $115.92 billion, which translates to 29.1% of retail ecommerce sales and 2.4% of total retail sales for the year. Bottom line is that brands and retailers need to make shopping both online and in-store as seamless as possible and remove the friction that can come with moving between them to optimize the experience.
  • Market for Proximity Marketing Worth 52.46 Billion USD by 2022” via FreshNews.com
    We’re only a mere six (almost five) years away from this forecast that proximity marketing will be worth more than $50 billion USD in 2022. For those still wary of adopting the technology or skeptical of using it in their campaigns, now is the time to get on board, as there is the potential to become a leader in the marketplace.
  • Making Your Mobile Proximity Campaign Stand Out This Holiday Season”  via ShopAdvisor
    Okay, so this one might be a bit of a shameless plug – but it still resonates, especially as we’re at the outset of the holiday season. With mcommerce growing so fast and so many retailers and brands trying to drive shoppers to their stores, how do you ensure that your campaign cuts through the noise? Our team discusses the best practices for optimizing your marketing budget and getting shoppers to your stores using mobile proximity technology.

Our Favorite Moments from the Path to Purchase Expo

Our very own Giuseppe Calabrese, Director of Sales and Operations, chatting with some other attendees
Our very own Giuseppe Calabrese, Director of Sales and Operations, chatting with some other attendees

This week, two members of the ShopAdvisor team attended the Path to Purchase Expo (formerly known as the Shopper Marketing Conference and Expo) in Rosemont (Chicago), Illinois. Our team was in good company at the Expo, as the event brought together thousands of shopper and digital marketing companies and apps; brand and retail marketing executives, agencies, and solutions; and CPG companies.

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Webinar Recap: The State of Mobile Proximity Marketing and Opportunities for Optimizing the Shopper’s Path to Purchase

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Last week, we hosted a webinar with our CTO Jeremy Daly, Aisle411 co-founder Matthew Kulig, Unacast product manager, Romet Kallas and GeoMarketing editor, David Kaplan on the state of mobile proximity marketing. The speakers shared insights, statistics and case studies into how retailers, brands and others can optimize their product availability and location awareness to maximize shoppers’ product options and accelerate their path to in-store purchase.

For those who were unable to attend, we’re providing a recap on some of the content covered:

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The Launch of Our Enhanced Platform

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ShopAdvisor has been busy this year. We’ve hosted several successful webinars; acquired Retailigence; capped off some great campaigns; and been hard at work to make our platform even better than ever before — that is why we’re excited share with you that we’ve officially launched our enhanced end-to-end proximity marketing platform.

Leveraging the company’s acquisition of Retailigence earlier this year, our new version of the platform features across-the-board enhancements to our Product Intelligence, Context Intelligence and Shopper Intelligence modules. We’ve also introduced new advancements to our appNET and our Retail Partner program, which extend the scope and value of the ShopAdvisor ecosystem for all participants — consumers, media/publishers, brands, retailers, agencies, and mall operators. This new version of the ShopAdvisor Platform enables quick and cost-effective development and execution of proximity marketing campaigns, which deliver personalized and compelling shopping experiences that take shoppers from their smartphones into stores to purchase products.

For more information about our enhanced platform, read the full press release here or check out some of the coverage from our announcement, including this story from Mobile Marketing Watch.