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Email is Still King

My name plate may say “Web Designer” however give me a little time and I can design a mean little custom email that gets hits on your website. You would think emails would eventually phase out over time, but they are getting stronger, even among your millennial customers. Adobe (think Adobe Acrobat .pdf files) who develops WAY more tools than Photoshop put together a survey about emails last August. About a 1000 white-collar workers took the survey about consumer emails. It seems this is a pretty popular topic. I first found this article from (I know) a monthly email I get from webdesignerdepot.com, more or less. After reading the article: “Adobe Reveals the Secrets of Email”, I noticed a link to an article on the Adobe website: “Consumers are still email obsessed, but they’re finding more balance”. THEN I found a rather dry overview of the survey results and a SlideShare in LinkedIn. So out of these three resources, I tried to pick out the topics our retailers might be interested in, then I’m sprinkling in personal comments on how…

Online Shopping

How to Beat National Chains at Online Shopping

A recent Reuters story talked about how it is hard to sell groceries online. Shoppers surveyed said they are very loyal to their local food stores and don’t want to shop for groceries online from places like Amazon. Those interviewed described themselves as “avid internet shoppers” and still weren’t interested in online grocery shopping. This runs counter to everything posted on this site for the last two years. AWG retailers can find a positive, however. Customers are loyal to their local store. They aren’t going to jump to a national chain simply because they offer online shopping. They do want to shop online. You can give that to them. The top hesitation for online shopping is picking produce. Your customers are shopping with you because they like the selection you offer. Make it clear that when they order online they are still getting the produce section that they know and love. Training whoever picks the groceries is crucial. Show them what makes a good tomato. If the customer wants three yellow bananas and three green ones make sure that is what they…

Clearly Organic BBQ Month Giveaway artwork

Leveraging the Power of Private Label & Organics

I recently listened to a webinar from Store Brands titled The Power of Private Brands. As someone who is focused solely on marketing our private label, this webinar confirmed my belief that AWG Brands consist of great products that carry considerable growth potential. Four key insights presented in the webinar lead me to this belief: (Almost) everyone is buying some private brand products today. Millennials embrace them. Consumers are more and more brand agnostic – they are willing to try private brands instead of always buying the national brand they consumed throughout childhood. Private brands are moving from emulation to differentiation. These key insights present exciting opportunities for AWG Brands in a variety of areas, but one that I wanted to spotlight in this post is the organics category. If you’re reading this as an AWG retailer, you should be familiar with Clearly Organic. Through rebranding, and a focus on product innovation and expansion, Clearly Organic has been a sales success for many of our retailers. Currently, organic only represents 7% of total brand sales. This presents an opportunity for…

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Time for some spring training

Spring training isn’t just for baseball players. It is also a good time to learn new skills. Brush up on Twitter best practices. Refine photography skills. Learn to code. Each years digital skills are being democratized more and more. Tasks that were done only by professionals with expensive equipment can now be done by following simple tutorials on YouTube. Use the skills below to jump start your own spring training. COB – No, this has nothing to do with corn. It stands for Cut Out Background. Ever wonder how the Crying Jordan face gets added to things so fast? COB is the answer. Removing the background from an image can be a good idea for highlighting individual items. It may not be a skill that you use all the time. However, knowing how to do it will save you a ton of time. Photoshop allows for the most control. The more precise the cutout the better the final product will look. There are at least five different ways to cut out a background in Photoshop – here is one. This…

Millennials Celebrate Valentine’s Day a Little Different

For me (Generation X) Valentine’s Day could have a lot of pressure, especially at school. Some girls needed help getting all their flowers home while others snuck out the back door. While I was Googling my typical “go to” Valentine’s Day content (the meaning of different rose colors) I got distracted by this article, “Millennials and Valentine’s Day”. After reading the article I thought, “Those millennials have it going on… AGAIN!” According to a survey of 13-32 year olds, more than half think Valentine’s Day is over-rated and don’t care about the holiday, but more than half admitted to celebrating the holiday, so what gives? Most of this generation grew up where giving out valentines in school meant you had to give one to everybody in your class. So what better excuse do you need to throw a party for everyone? About half planned to get something for a significant other, but almost everyone in that group planned to get a gift for a family member or friend. Have you heard of Galentine’s Day? About a quarter of these millennial’s planned to…

A Millennial’s view of online grocery shopping

Online grocery shopping. You’ve been hearing about it for years, yet you haven’t seen it explode in popularity like you’ve been told. I’m starting to be convinced that moment is right around the corner. “I hate grocery shopping,” is a line I commonly hear from friends and family my age. “ I will definitely pay for the convenience of not having to spend time walking through the store.” A good friend lives within walking distance of a local AWG grocery store. Where does he get his groceries? At a Hy-Vee 15 minutes away from his residence. If he wants to pick up groceries on the way home from work, it’s still more than 10 minutes out of the way from his usual commute. He even passes one or two other AWG stores on his way. Why? Because he can shop online and pick up his groceries ready to go at the front door. Before we got married, my wife shopped for groceries when she knew she would be in the area of a store that offers online shopping. It was…

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…

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Snapchat for Business 101: What, When, Why & How

Of all the current successful, widely-used social media platforms, Snapchat is probably one of the most confusing for non-users. Ironically, it’s also one of the simplest platforms to use. But before we get started, some of you might be wondering… WHAT is Snapchat? It’s a mobile-only app used to share pictures or a 10-second video. After a certain amount of time, the pictures/videos disappear. That’s it. WHY use Snapchat? Because it’s so simple, you might think it’s a waste of time to include Snapchat in your digital marketing. But it all depends on your business and who you’re trying to reach. Let’s take a look at some numbers: Snapchat users: 100 million daily active users Percentage of U.S. millennial internet users that access Snapchat regularly: 30% Snapchat mobile app user growth from December 2013 to May 2014: 67% Average amount of time spent on Snapchat daily by age range 18-29: 20 minutes per day 30-44: 9 minutes per day 45-60: 13.6 minutes per day 60+: 6 minutes per day Are you trying to grab the attention of that elusive millennial generation?…

Coffee with Cart Graphic.

Star Trek gadgets could work today with an open mind

“3D printed food you can eat,” makes me think of the “replicator” in Star Trek. The Replicator seemed like a magical device with the ability to make something out of nothing. I had forgotten the Replicator used technology from the transporter. This means the replicator actually found whatever you ordered and sent it to you. Quickly.   At the end of a long day, I read the article mentioned in a recent Coffee with CART about the 3D edible food printer “Foodini”. Reading the article helped me shed my Star Trek Replicator assumptions and first off, I wasn’t impressed. I left work thinking “Big deal, somebody figured out how to fit a cookie factory into a box the size of a microwave, and it doesn’t even cook! Why would any of our retailers be interested?” It takes me 20-30 minutes to drive home from work, so I tend to relax some during this time. I started to think of factories that produce food. Basically, food goes in, it gets rearranged, and then packaged food comes out. Why do we have factories? To mass-produce. Now lets…