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The Best Way to Ensure a Successful Online Shopping Program

Just like in store, providing high-quality customer service can make or break your online shopping program. In a recent digitaltrends.com article, writer Erika Rawes tries out Walmart’s free grocery pickup service, but waits more than 30 minutes from the time she pulled up to the store to collect her family’s groceries to the time she leaves. Once home, she finds out she was charged for 10 missing items. If I personally had this experience, I doubt I’d try it again and I would guess that I’m not alone. The whole point to offering curbside pickup is to make grocery shopping easier and faster for the customer. Selecting a partner that provides a clean and user-friendly online experience is the first step, but after that, it’s up to your team to provide a pleasant experience for your customer. First, you have to select a personal shopper who knows what they’re doing. They need to know how to pick and handle the freshest produce and other perishable items. As a customer, I’d rather not get a carton of milk (or any perishable…

Fill viewfinder example photo of produce.

Do you need online shopping customers’ approval on produce?

Time and again when online shopping is brought up some Negative Nancy inevitably says “What about produce?” like they are the first person to think of this potential problem. Setting aside the fact that the average person really doesn’t know how to pick out ripe produce, stores train their staff in how to spot a good tomato. If a store is going to be really successful in the online shopping game then they will have a well trained staff who know what produce to select for you. Despite hearing this, some customers will remain unconvinced. To combat this Walmart has patented the “Fresh Online Experience”. According Supermarket News, customers would be able to “order produce, meat and bakery items online using stock photos, but then have the opportunity to approve the actual items being purchased via image scans (either two- or three-dimensional) sent to them by Walmart store workers.”  After the customer’s approval the items wold be tagged with an “edible watermark” to show it was indeed the item the customer selected. Perhaps this technology will become the standard. However,…

Online Shopping Digital Marketing

How to Promote Your Online Shopping…Online

Does your store offer online shopping? Do your customers know about the program? …are you sure that they do? Online shopping is part of the future of grocery retail. In 2016, one in five shoppers had an online purchase and that will likely increase to one in three this year. Yet in a survey of 500 consumers, 41% of shoppers didn’t know if their stores offered online shopping (2017 Online Shopping Forecast). As Kate mentioned in a recent blog post, online shopping isn’t an “if you build it, they will come” program. When launching an online shopping program, your marketing and advertising campaigns need to inform your customers about the program and teach them how to use it. Kate also noted that digital marketing is key to these campaigns. While in-store promotion is necessary, digital marketing will point customers directly to the online shopping platform and that gives them a chance to see it and hopefully try it! Here are some examples of AWG retailers who are using digital marketing to promote their online shopping programs: Website Do more than…

Flyer for Conference: Trends in email marketing

Trends in email marketing

The marketing platform company emfluence held their annual conference Friday, Sept. 25. The event had plenty of speakers and there were tons of people there to learn from. If you are involved with digital marketing in anyway I highly suggest you attend. The session I got the most out of was a panel discussion about trends in email marketing and automation. Here are some of the trends they highlighted: Web-based email account for 31 percent of all opens. Gmail claims 21 percent market share. – The big news this year is the increased ability in adding creative elements to emails. Gmail now allows for responsive designs, improved font styling and better support for many CSS properties.  HTML5 Video is now supported in iOS 10. – Apple supporting HTML5 allows video to be embedded in emails. This allows for a more interactive experience right in the email instead of having to go to a website. Interactive emails – More things are able to be done right in the email than ever before. This lowers the barriers for engagement and makes clickers…

Digital face depiction

Internet Technology and It’s Crazy Capabilities

I attended a presentation on technology and consumer trends. Here’s a little of what I came back with. Ever log onto the Interwebs to browse your favorite sites and an advertisement pops up? Of course you have. Did you think it was coincidence that the ad was promoting something you had searched before? Well, it wasn’t. In fact that advertisement was specifically for you. I know you’re thinking to yourself. How is that even possible?! I knew the government was hiding aliens! No, not really, well maybe, who can really be sure. What I can tell you; is that aliens didn’t generate that advertisement; it was delivered to your screen by something called AI (Augmented Intelligence). Augmented Intelligence is a technology that analyzes 2.5 Exabytes per day. What’s an Exabyte? I know, I had to look it up too, but to save you time I’ll share. An Exabyte is one quintillion bytes, or one billion gigabytes. Gigabytes are one billion bytes, so it’s a billion times a billion times 2.5…A LOT of data. We all contribute data. The sites you…

Header photo. Loaf of bread - Plated. A Case Study

Pros & Cons of Meal Kit Delivery: What Retailers Should Know

Earlier this year, Jason shared a blog post introducing the phenomena of meal kits and the quick growth this market has experienced. I’ve heard a lot of hype about meal kits and finally decided to give one a try. Not only was I curious about their popularity, I also figured it would be great market research. By knowing the pros and cons of meal kit subscriptions, retailers can use this information to compete in this attractive market that’s taking dollars away from grocery stores. The Study The meal kit service I subscribed to is Plated. Pricing for this service is about $12 per serving and around $6 for shipping. Subscribers can choose to buy two to seven meals per week, each at two to three servings per meal. After filling out a quick survey on food preferences, Plated picks meals that it thinks you will like for the week; however, you can swap meals to match your personal flavor preferences from a choice of about seven to ten recipes. Pros Ingredients: I’ve cooked four meals so far, and everything I’ve…

Photo of opened meal kit on kitchen counter.

Competing with Meal Kit Delivery

The meal kit market has grown significantly since being introduced broadly to the U.S. in 2012, and it’s changing the way some consumers shop for food. On a recent NGA Webinar titled “A Contest of Convenience: How to compete with the meal kit format”, Erik Thoresen from Technomic discussed how this fast growing market represents both an opportunity and a threat to retailers. In the blog post, I’ll break down some of the takeaways from his presentation. What are meal kits? First, what exactly are meal kits? Chances are, you’ve already heard of these ‘meals in a box’ delivered to your doorstep. Meal kits are ingredients and meal components which companies assemble and transport to consumers for home preparation. The biggest companies today offering meal kit delivery include Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Gobble, Home Chef, Marley Spoon and Plated. The meal kit market has seen significant growth. The meal kit trend started in the U.S. around 2012 and globally is estimated to have a $3.3 billion dollar impact on the retail channel in 2020 (the amount that customers will spend…

Here’s What Amazon’s New Private-Label Grocery Business Means for Independent Retailers

Amazon’s latest entry into the private-label grocery sector has captured many headlines over the past few weeks. Amazon will sell perishable items such as nuts, coffees, teas, baby food, and spices along with household items like diapers and detergents under unique brand names: Happy Belly, Wickedly Prime, Presto! and Mama Bear. However, these products will only be available to Amazon Prime subscribers. Private-label products are nothing new to the grocery business, which has seen dynamic success with these types of products, especially in the last few years. According to the Private Label Manufacturers Association, sales reached an all-time high last year with $118.4 billion in sales just in the United States. A number this large makes it no surprise that Amazon is ready to play the private-label grocery game. But this isn’t the first time Amazon has tried its hand with private-label products. It has successfully sold non-grocery items such as electronics and home goods. It also previously failed because of quality issues with its Elements brand, which tried to sell diapers and other baby goods. What does all of…

Woman Holding Purse and Shopping Bag on Smartphone

Using Retail Technology to Create a Personalized In-Store Experience

With the ever-changing technology landscape for the retail industry, have you ever stopped to think about how you can use this technology to create a better in-store experience for your customers? Some retailers wrongly assume that because so much of our everyday lives have become dependent upon technology, retail technology is slowly replacing the brick and mortar store. In fact, retailers can (and should) use digital platforms to enhance the in-store interactions with their customers. During last week’s Coffee with CART, the discussion revolved around several articles highlighting the ways in which retailers are using technology to enhance the in-store experience. For example, Street Fight magazine explained how the designer denim company, True Religion, is providing their in-store customers with a more personalized shopping experience that involves the brand’s Apple Watch app. Associates working in the store are alerted on their Apple Watch when a member of the brand’s loyalty program have entered the store. The app pulls pictures of the customer from their social media profiles so the associate will be able to recognize the customer and greet them…

Coffee with Cart Graphic.

We’re in the “Betamax” of online shopping

There was a time, in the early 1980’s, when families had to make some hard decisions on how to best spend their home entertainment dollars. They wanted the freedom to watch movies at home on their own schedule. The question was should we get a “Betamax” or “VHS” player? For a while you could rent a movie in either format. But slowly Betamax cassettes began to fade away. Today, in 2016 we find ourselves in a similar predicament only in the grocery industry. Which online shopping method is going to be the future VHS? Instead of two choices we now have several. Here are a few that were discussed in last weeks Coffee with CART with Sterling and Schuyler Hawkins. Let’s see what other retailers are doing… Instacart: Several retailers in southern California are partnering with Instacart to combat the Aldi invasion. For a grocery customer to use Instacart, they first need to know which stores are partners. They go to the website using any mobile device, find their store, pick their items, schedule the delivery and groceries should show up in a…

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