Thursday, September 22, 2016

Black Friday 2016 Preview

“Last Year’s Black Friday Hurt...”

Updated! With Labor Day now a fond memory, all eyes are looking ahead to November when the nation’s biggest — and for many, most important — event will take place.

Sorry, we’re not talking the presidential election here: The subject at hand is Black Friday. With Thanksgiving just 77 days away, and many of the week’s promotions already locked and loaded, it’s not too early to begin the conversation.

And the discussion, argued Stephen Baker, The NPD Group’s consumer technology industry analysis VP, should start with nomenclature.

“Black Friday is not the operative term anymore,” he told TWICE. “Now it is a full week of deals as the expansion of retailers to online and the needs of online retailers to compete with off line has extended the time frame past just one day.

“That said,” he continued, “the question should not be about how promotional Black Friday or Thanksgiving Week is going to be, because it is going to be as promotional as every retailer, and brand, can make it. With the overall business remaining challenging, no business can afford to sit on the sidelines and not compete that week and expect to be successful.”...

Read the entire article courtesy of Twice:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Women Are Buying More Luxury Vehicles

Kelly Dahle remembers leaving her workplace one day at the same time of day as the company’s CEO exited the office doors. When they arrived at her car, the CEO was startled.

“Great car! But why do you need a BMW?” he asked.

Dahle didn’t respond but she could have told her boss to get used to it. Women are buying more luxury vehicles than ever before, thanks to growing earnings, better marketing and a richer mix of products designed to appeal to them.

In the U.S., 41 percent of luxury vehicles sold so far this year were bought by women, up from 37 percent five years ago, according to car shopping site

Historically, women were considered the practical car shoppers. They needed family haulers and didn’t want to shell out extra cash for flashy, powerful Mercedes sedans or Porsche sports cars.

But the luxury market has changed....

Read the rest of the article courtesy of The Detroit News

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Don’t Ignore These Holiday Security Issues

In the lead-up to this year’s holiday season, retailers across the country are already making important preparations in the hopes of increasing sales, improving customer service, and preventing data breaches. This last concern carries with it a heavy price tag; according to a survey from the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of holiday season cyber attacks is $8,000 per minute or nearly half-a-million dollars per hour. 

In addition to the high monetary cost for retailers, these types of breaches also impact a significant amount of individual customers by exposing sensitive information. For example, between May 2013 and January 2014, Michaels suffered a data breach that compromised the information of potentially 2.6 million payment cards....  

With this and other past breaches in mind, here are four security issues that retailers should be aware of in anticipation of the upcoming holiday shopping season...

Read the entire article courtesy of Chain Store Age

Monday, September 19, 2016

Non-Traditional Sports/Fitness Activities Expand Their Appeal

“These activities fit well with Americans’ desires for flexible fitness – social, befitting of community and belonging with identifiable improvement in performance.”

The report explores in depth how the trends are driven by millennials who have grown into the largest and most powerful consumer segment accounting for 25 percent of the U.S. population and nearly $200 billion in annual spending.

With steep financial concerns and highly scheduled social lives, millennials are looking for more flexibility in integrating fitness-related activity with social and everyday life. At the same time, millennials are placing an emphasis on experience over goods, which can make them cynical to traditional marketing approaches...

Read the entire article courtesy of SGB Media:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

How ‘Shoppertainment’ Elevates the In-Store Experience to Drive Traffic and Sales

Online retail sales continue to grow as changing shopper behavior places greater expectations on brick-and-mortar retail. Despite this trend, store-based retailing remains more profitable than direct-to-consumer retailing, largely due to the high cost of free shipping and returns associated with online sales. 

The silver lining for retailers is that many consumers still prefer in-store shopping. In fact, Accenture recently found that 82% of tech-savvy millennials enjoy shopping in physical – not digital – stores. So, bringing shoppers back may be easier – and more fun – than expected.

The Shopping Trip as an Experience
The goal of “shoppertainment,” or experiential retailing, is to draw shoppers into the physical space by offering interactive and engaging activities. Mall operators are seasoned at implementing shoppertainment methods to differentiate their space from other retail offerings – examples include temporary events such as Santa Claus during the holidays and permanent fixtures like carousels.

Today, individual retailers of all sizes are looking for new ways to connect with customers and retain brick-and-mortar sales. What is a great way to do this? Think of the shopping journey as an experience, and make it both unique and memorable....

Read the entire article courtesy of CSA:


More than ever, retail is a highly local game, and retailers of all sizes need to gain deeper understanding of their markets to remain relevant to their customers. 

U.S. consumers are always looking to make the most of their hard-earned dollars, and with an array of choices on where to shop—from grocery stores to supercenters to warehouse clubs—they have no shortage of retailers from which to choose. So how are different retail channels keeping pace with today’s shopper and navigating today’s complex shopping landscape?...

Read the entire article courtesy of Nielsen:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Minivan Is Back, and It’s Kind of Cool!

Mom-jeans are stylish again, Pokémon is ubiquitous, and the minivan is having a major moment. As the old saying goes: Those who fail to learn from the 1990s are doomed to repeat them.

Minivan sales in the U.S. are up 21 percent so far this year, outmatching every class of vehicle except the midsize pickup. And though the bloated kid-carrier has yet to match its heyday, U.S. drivers are on pace to buy more than 600,000 of them this year for the first time in almost a decade. If the current pace holds, more people will purchase these soccer practice-pods than subcompact cars such as the Honda Fit or such entry-level luxury cars as the BMW 3 series.

Its renaissance was hard to see coming. Until recently, the minivan looked as though it were headed for the historical scrap heap, along with the pickup car and the Volkswagen diesel.
The antagonist? An army of SUVs. Minivan sales in the U.S. peaked in 2000 at approximately 1.4 million vehicles. Two years later, Americans bought more than 3 million SUVs for the first time. These vehicles were big, tall, and infinitely cooler. Nowadays there are roughly 100 SUVs to choose from in the U.S.—from a $20,000 version that looks like a swollen sedan to a $100,000 land yacht with a few longhorns-worth of leather stitched inside. Meanwhile, there are six minivans. The ratio isn’t a coincidence: When it comes to style, SUVs are considered the vehicular equivalent of a leather jacket, while minivans are a pair of cargo-shorts....

Read the entire article courtesy of Bloomburg:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cool Fall Promos Tap Tailgating, Friday Pizza Nights

Although summer offers more opportunities for fun in the sun, fall is hardly a time without celebration.

From tailgating burgers and beer to pizza and movies at home on Friday nights, Americans have plenty of opportunities to kick back, relax and enjoy comforting eats with family and friends as the months cool down and lead into holiday season. In turn, grocers have a tremendous opportunity to lift sales dramatically by offering the right products and activating creative promotions with their supplier partners.

Long known as a popular time for people to get their grill on, summer sees eight in 10 grillers planning to grill outdoors during holidays, new research from Jacksonville, Fla.-based marketing agency Acosta Sales & Marketing reveals. But fall isn’t the time when the urge to grill goes into hibernation: Most of those who grill still plan to do so when the weather starts growing crisper, with seven in 10 grillers expecting to grill in the autumn....

Read the entire article courtesy of Progressive Grocer:

Monday, September 12, 2016

Men and Millennials Are Driving Traffic Growth At Outlet Malls

Men and millennials are the main traffic-growth drivers at outlet malls, according to Cowen & Co.’s latest Consumer Tracker Survey, with consumer traffic reaching a two-year high in July.

When 2,506 consumers were asked in July, “Did you shop in an outlet mall over the last 30 days?” 26% said, yes, they had.

“Visitation to the U.S. outlet centers by U.S. consumers among our total survey population is up 400 basis points on a sequential basis since the March 2016 trough and continues to outpace mall traffic,” analysts wrote in the Monday note. A basis point is equal to 0.01%.

“Men continue to show year-over-year gains in outlet visitation year to date through July 2016 across all age groups despite difficult year-ago comparisons,” the note said.

Visits by millennial men 18 to 34 were up 658 basis points in June and 535 basis points in July, reaching a new peak of 44%. Visits by men between 35 and 54 were up 388 basis points in June and 1,087 basis points in July.

“We think the increase in visitation to outlets by men is being driven by athleisure on promotion, especially as Nike, in part, continues to clear North America surplus through its Factory channel,” the Cowen note said....

Read the entire article courtesy of Market Watch:

Friday, September 2, 2016

Americans Are On Board for River Cruising

While only a small portion of the population has boarded a ship to cruise along rivers in the United States, Europe or Asia, consumer interest in river cruising is growing exponentially. According to a new AAA survey, 14 percent of Americans have enjoyed a river cruise, but approximately four in 10 would consider river cruising for an upcoming vacation. Following this trend, AAA’s river cruise bookings have increased more than 16 percent in just the last year.

Despite the perception that river cruising appeals primarily to older generations, millennials respond more strongly to several key attributes of river cruising than members of Generation X and Baby Boomers. The younger generation is less likely to have taken a river cruise vacation (11 percent), but they are more likely to consider one for an upcoming vacation (42 percent internationally; 45 percent domestically) than either Generation X or Baby Boomers....

Read the entire article courtesy of AAA:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Newer Steakhouse Designs Up the Sizzle

The deep, dark and clubby confines of the steakhouse increasingly are being refreshed with brighter, lighter and airier designs to broaden their appeal.

The deep, dark and clubby confines of the steakhouse increasingly are being refreshed with brighter, lighter and airier designs to broaden their appeal.

In multi-unit steakhouse chains as varied as Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and Black Angus Steakhouse, new units have been freshened with versatile dining areas that emphasizing customer comfort, open kitchen views to promote transparency and remodeled bars to highlight the high-margin beverage programs.

The new designs are being introduced with the same attention to detail as found in a perfectly grilled porterhouse.

“The landscape of the diner and the upscale diner is changing,” said Mark Mednansky, CEO of Southlake, Texas-based Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, in a recent earnings call. Some 10 to 15 years ago, he said, “You were building white tablecloth steakhouses, you were building restaurants that were frankly male dominated....

Read the entire article courtesy of Nation's Restaurant News

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Stores Try New Ways To Woo Flu Business

Kroger is linking flu shots to a cause-related campaign to fight hunger, and RiteAid is throwing in a digital vaccine overview, as retailers line up to make the same-old, same-old influenza season a little spicier for shoppers.

As ever, of course, while many people intend to get the annual vaccination, it often comes down to how easy it is to get. A new poll from CVS shows that 34% of people who have ever received a flu shot made the decision based on convenience, and that more would do so if it were easier to get the whole family immunized at the same time. (Two out five people in its survey say it took multiple trips to get the whole gang inoculated.)

Retailers, of course, rely on revenue from shots, with CVS reporting that some 46% of Americans say everyone in their family over six months of age gets an annual shot, and 59% say they either get the vaccine every year, or plan to get one this year....

Read the entire article courtesy of Media Post:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Early Holiday Survey Finds Retailers Bullish

Although it’s only August and the pendulum has plenty of time to swing in the other direction, retailers are feeling optimistic about the upcoming holiday season.

That’s according to a report by Fung Global Retail & Technology and First Insight, in which more than 60% of those surveyed said they believe that holiday sales will increase compared to last year, and about 25% expect sales to increase 5% to 10%.
Almost three-quarters of the survey respondents said they are optimistic about the upcoming holiday season, and about a third said they are extremely optimistic....

Read the entire article courtesy of CSA:

Monday, August 29, 2016

Will Novelty Foods Fix the Fast Food Slump?

Grilled hot dogs.  Mac ‘n Cheetos.  Beefy Frito burritos. Chicken rings. Hot dog-crusted pizza. The revival of old cult favorites like clear soda and chicken fries.

And now – the “Whopperrito.”

Yup, this burger/burrito hybrid goes national today following successful test debuts in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

What gives? Why are the fast food chains putting so many weird – if not repulsive - food gimmicks on their menus? “It’s about generating traffic,” says Darren Tristano, president of Technomic Inc., a food service research firm.

There’s been a pullback in the industry, you see. A slump. And everyone’s feeling it – from Shake Shack (SHAK) to Starbucks (SBUX) to McDonald’s (MCD).

“Things were going really well at the start of the year when all the economic indicators that would correlate to positive restaurant conditions were in a good place – gas prices were low, confidence was up, housing was settled - and then in April, the switch turned off even though the indicators were still in place.”...

Read the rest of the article courtesy of Fox Business:

Friday, August 26, 2016

How Big Box Stores Look to Hook College Students - For Life

It's back-to-college season, which means retailers are battling to equip as many of America's freshmen with laptops, futons and minifridges as they can. Amid the flood of deals and discounts, some have their eyes on a bigger prize: figuring out how a new generation of customers shops and hooking a group of potential lifelong repeat customers.

The average family with college-age kids plans to spend $888.71 getting ready to go back to campus, about half of which will go to electronics, apparel and dorm furnishings, according to a National Retail Federation survey.

"Especially when it's freshmen going off to college for the first time, or a sophomore or junior establishing their first apartment, it's a big chunk of change," Retail Systems Research analyst Nikki Baird said.

And while those sales are compelling in their own right, companies with more unique or engaging pitches to college students are likely to have an advantage....

Read the entire article courtesy of The Chicago Tribune:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Avoid These Seven Deadly Sins of Customer Experience

When it comes to providing customer service, companies often have only one chance to get it right. The reality is that even just one negative experience can be all it takes for a customer to take their business elsewhere. 

Today, companies are faced with even more pressure, as customer service capabilities are innovating and evolving to meet the needs of the tech savvy shopper. This is giving way to customer communications beyond traditional phone calls and emails, as organizations are harnessing the power of social media and chat functions as a way to personalize connections with customers in the channels that they prefer.

As the omnichannel experience grows, it is imperative to arm your representatives with the intelligence and tools required to ensure a consistent, thoughtful and personalized customer experience. Avoiding these seven deadly sins of customer communication are key to ensuring client satisfaction:...

See all Seven Deadly Sins of Customer Experience courtesy of CSA

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Heads-Up On Holiday Retailing Strategies

A Heads-Up On Holiday Retailing Strategies

Former strategy and innovation executive, Kim Garretson, shares data from a frequent shoppers study by e-tailing on consumer holiday shopping behaviors in 2015, alerting retailers to consumer responses in planning for the upcoming season.  

Last Fall, says Kim, MyAlerts and the research firm e-Tailing Group surveyed 1,200 frequent e-commerce shoppers ahead of their holiday shopping, providing some early insights:

Consumer Holiday Shopping Habits:

  • 43% answered that they usually will wait for sales when first viewing products
  • 37% said if the price is fair, they usually buy soon
  • 50% said they always or frequently would opt-in to price drop email alerts, with another 37% saying they sometimes would opt-in to price alerts
Read the rest of the article courtesy of Media Post:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Travel Agents See Changes In The Face Of Wellness Travel

The top trends for summer and fall travel in the wellness sector point to a strong season, with a broadening customer base and more options—and therefore, more need for a professional guidance.

This year is all about shorter stays, more men, more physically challenging activities and a younger customer base, say a handful of top travel professionals specializing in wellness who spoke with TMR over the past few days.

Kathy Bernstein of Chicago-based Protravel International, a Travel Leaders Group agency, says she is seeing a trend toward shorter and more focused trips, with a specific goal such as learning to surf or meditate. The current state of information overload from surfing the internet for travel options leaves clients “overwhelmed with the volume of information and choices”—and sees her role as “helping them focus on their major motivation.”

Whether they are looking for spas or the increasing number of hotels that offer wellness options, there is something out there for everyone. But it’s important to make the right match, because “a misstep could have exactly the opposite effect of their intention.”...

Read the entire article courtesy of Travel Market Report:

Friday, August 12, 2016

Attention Retailers: Affluent Shoppers Like Coupons, Too!

Think wealthy folks are averse to using coupons? Think again.

A new study by intelligent media delivery firm Valassis found that coupon use among the affluent is strong despite their six-digit annual incomes.
Consumers collectively saved $3.4 billion by redeeming coupons in 2015, according to NCH data, and affluent shoppers were no exception. Valassis’ research illustrates an opportunity for marketers to reach this group via integrated print and digital promotions.

Among the affluent (household incomes of over $100K) shoppers surveyed, 28% have increased their use of coupons in the past year. Fifty-six percent reported that they enjoy using coupons, and 87% believe that coupons save them a lot of money.... 

Read the entire article courtesy of Retailing Today:

Report: 'Star Wars' Drives Healthy Mid-Year Growth in Toy Aisle

"The spike in outdoor toys is an example of millennials’ penchant for experiences over stuff spilling over into parenthood—a clue for toy retailers preparing for the holidays."

After slumping in recent years, toy sales are booming, and movie, internet, and television tie-ins are a big part of that. But consumers’ priority of spending money on experiences over stuff is also driving the growth, as outdoor toys dominate sales.

“I expect to see continued growth for the U.S. toy industry for the remainder of 2016 and, if it reaches 7% for year-end, that would be the fastest growth of the U.S. toy market since 1999,” NPD U.S. toys analyst Juli Lennett said in a statement. “Toys with movie tie-ins will continue to contribute to the increase, stemming from those released both in 2015 and 2016. Television, over-the-top and other content providers, like YouTube and social media, will also continue to drive growth.”...

Read the entire article courtesy of Retail Dive:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

How to Build an Auto Brand with Audio: Subaru's Stunning Success via Carmichael Lynch's Storytelling

"...heavy radio listeners generate more word of mouth about leading auto brands compared to heavy digital users and heavy TV users." 

“No one can build a brand with audio” is a misconception in the media world, especially when it comes to building auto brands. In fact, tons of brands -- including Subaru -- are building their brands with audio.

“Tier one auto” advertising describes the ads auto manufacturers air on national media, usually TV, to raise awareness and purchase consideration for their car brands. TV is often the first thought for these ads because of the assumption people need to see the “sight, sound, and motion” of the car.

So many distracting devices means Americans are not putting their “eyes on the TV screen” to see all the beautiful sight, sound, and motion of car ads. The highly regarded Council for Research Excellence finds: “Consumers have moved from a single-source, single-device ‘mental model’ to a multi-source, multi-device mental model.”...

Read the entire article courtesy of Westwood One

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

High-Tech Safety Features "Apeal" to Consumers...

New vehicle buyers have come to expect – and appreciate – the latest in high-tech safety systems. And those manufacturers who offer such technologies as blind-spot detection and forward collision warning scored especially well in the latest J.D. Power APEAL study.

Designed to go beyond traditional quality and reliability numbers, APEAL probes buyers about what features they find most exciting – and which are likely to get them back into showrooms to buy the same model or brand in the future. The results of the 2016 study show European brands such as Porsche, BMW and Jaguar, that offers the broadest suites of safety gear coming out on top.

“Technology-enabled safety features help drivers feel more comfortable and confident while driving their vehicles,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power.
Ironically, while consumers are clearly being drawn to advanced technologies like automatic emergency braking, or AEB, they also find flaw with digital systems – though more frequently the high-tech infotainment systems that have become an industry norm. Such technologies were, collectively, the single largest source of complaints in another Power study, the annual Initial Quality Survey released last month....

Read the entire article courtesy of The Detroit Bureau:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Why Retailers Still Struggle with Omnichannel—and How They Can Conquer the Challenge

"Understanding omnichannel starts with data—both private, in-house customer data as well as social media insights and other public information—that enables retailers to uniquely identify customers and products across channels, shedding light on their activities and preferences."

Shoppers want it all, and they want it now. They want to shop seamlessly across devices, anywhere and anytime. They want online visibility into product inventory, store-based fulfillment of web orders and a range of delivery and pickup options. They want personalized offers when they’re in stores, and additional incentives when they’re nearby. And because they no longer see any distinction between the online and offline retail realms, they want merchants to see the world the exact same way.

Retailers are racing to keep pace, investing in personnel, processes and technology in order to meet the heightened expectations of the omnichannel age. Based on the findings of a survey of more than 250 store managers published earlier this year by JDA Software Group, 62% of U.S. merchants now connect their brick-and-mortar stores to their desktop and mobile experiences to offer consumers an evolving range of services.

The investment is not yet paying off, however. Retailers admit that omnichannel success remains a cipher wrapped inside an enigma smothered in secret sauce, which they blame in large part on the absence of quality customer data insights, according to the results of a survey released this spring by Periscope, a unit of management consultancy McKinsey Solutions....

See the entire article courtesy of Retail Dive:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Job Opening at Sunny 92.3

We would like to let you know that there is a job opening  at Sunny 92.3 in Chattanooga, TN for a co-host for the morning show. 

Please send, or ask anyone interested to send resume and cover letter to: Danny Howard, WDEF Radio (Morning Show Position), 2615 S. Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37408. You may email it to or fax to 423-321-6240.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Celebrating a Centennial of National Parks: Americans are Flocking to Their Favorite Parks

The most Americans in recent years are heading to national parks in recognition of the U.S. National Park Service’s 100th anniversary on Aug. 25. Visitation to the national parks reached an all-time high in 2015, with more than 307 million visitors, according to the National Park Service, and travelers can expect the parks to remain busy in the year ahead. According to a recent AAA survey, 79 percent of Americans say they are as likely (42 percent) or more likely (37 percent) to visit a national park in the next 12 months, building on the momentum of this year’s centennial celebrations.

“The demand for national parks is off the charts this year, and it’s exciting to see that Americans are poised to take even more national park vacations in the years to come,” said Bryan Shilling, managing director of AAA Travel Products and Services. “In times of global uncertainty, many people are turning to domestic vacations and the wide variety of national parks offer something for every traveler to discover.”...

Read the entire article courtesy of AAA Newsroom:

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Millennial Parents Raise Kids Differently And Marketers Must Address That...

Family life itself has changed dramatically thanks to the more than 31 million Millennial parents. It’s critical for marketers and advertisers to understand what matters to modern parents and to accurately reflect this in their messages and campaigns, according to the Engine Group's Cassandra.  

"Moms and dads today aren’t blindly following the model of parenting that previous generations set forth; instead they are taking their own unique approaches to raising their children, establishing the family dynamics that work for them," says Melanie Shreffler, senior insights director, Cassandra. 

"Both moms and dads realize there’s no such thing as a “perfect parent,” and they’re trusting their gut and figuring out what works best for them, rather than relying on products and brands for aid."...

Read the entire article courtesy of Media Post

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Credit Cards Gaining Steam (Again)

"Credit-card issuers have been conservative since the economic downturn. The loosening of the standards could be a very good sign for recovery. ... It's also concerning."

Consumers learned a valuable financial lesson in the Great Recession: Many people reeled in their debt, became wary of high-interest loans and returned to spending only the cash they had on hand — until recently.

Now, the number of credit-card accounts in the U.S. is rising quickly. And based on current growth rates, the total number will soon be back to prerecession levels....

Read the entire article courtesy of CNBC:

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

'Pets Are Family' Prompts Industry's Growth

The bond between consumers and their pets continues to be a key catalyst for growth in the pet food industry, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in the report "Pet Food in the U.S., 12th Edition."

Most pet owners characterize their pets as family members and do not hesitate to spend money on their pets, both to ensure their health and well-being and to pamper them. In Packaged Facts’ National Pet Owner Survey, 79% of dog owners and 77% of cat owners consider their dogs or cats to be part of the family. This is true especially when it comes to older pets....

Read the entire article courtesy of Marketing Daily:

Monday, August 1, 2016

Childless Women to Marketers: We Buy Things Too

Even as advertisers are embracing new configurations of families — two dads, say, or grandparents raising grandchildren — there’s one group that feels left out.

Women who are childless. Or as they also call themselves, the child-free. Or even the NotMoms.

According to census figures, more women in the United States are childless than at any other time since the government began keeping track in 1976. Nearly half of women — 47.6 percent — between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have children in 2014, up from 46.5 percent in 2012. And 15.3 percent of women ages 40 to 44 are childless. The numbers are growing internationally as well.

Despite these statistics, “the majority of marketing talks to adult women like they are all moms or want to be mothers,” said Adrianna Bevilaqua, chief creative officer at M Booth, a public relations company.

Melanie Notkin has made a career of catering to women who don’t have children but love them — she is the founder of the website SavvyAuntie; coined the term “professional aunt, no kids,” or PANKs; and is the author of “Otherhood: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness.” She wonders why companies, always eager to target a potentially lucrative demographic, seem to be ignoring this one.

The childless woman is “left off the table,” Ms. Notkin said. “Advertisers don’t know how to pitch to her.”...

Read the entire article courtesy of The New York Times:

Friday, July 29, 2016

Retailers Install Bars, Hoping To Lure Shoppers Offline

Work's out and it's time for happy hour. Where to go for a stiff drink?

One surprising destination of choice: Urban Outfitters. The hipster retailer has begun to offer customers much more than clothing at certain locations. Now visitors can shop, or just head for its bar area.

Aiming to stand out in a world overflowing with retail shops and online competitors, some chains want to become destinations for diners and drinkers, not just shoppers.

The Urban Outfitters here in Brooklyn, called Space Ninety 8, has two bars — one on the roof and another on the third floor near the men's department — as well as an Israeli barbecue restaurant. The store doesn't discourage walking around the clothing displays with a drink in hand....

Read the entire article courtesy of USA Today:

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Retail Sales Forecast Looking Brighter

In the face of sluggish global growth and uncertainty over the presidential election, the retail industry's trade organization sees signs that the positive trends influencing consumer spending are out muscling the negative.

As such, the National Retail Federation on Tuesday raised its full-year sales forecast to 3.4 percent growth, up slightly from its previous expectation for a 3.1 percent lift. It cited improvements in the housing market, job growth and higher wages as three factors that should boost consumer sentiment through the end of the year.

A larger-than-expected lift in online sales is likewise expected to drive additional growth, with the NRF now calling for a 7 to 10 percent increase in digital revenue. That compares with its prior forecast for a 6 to 9 percent lift.

"Economic indicators are showing positive trends for retail," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a news release. "Challenges remain, with some greater than others depending on the retail category, but consumer confidence remains high."...

Read the entire article courtesy of CNBC:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


“We frequently see repeat customers coming back to make purchases after experiencing our brand for the first time.”
Bricks-and-mortar retailers looking for a reboot need go no further than their physical space for a new lease on sales.

So says Kapow, a Chicago-based company that connects clients planning events with retail venues across the country, in real time. Part disruptor and part event planner, Kapow makes it possible for retailers to transform unproductive dayparts or even unused space into sales vehicles.

These stores have the ability to generate pure profit through the retail space they already have, simply by using bricks-and-mortar locations as an events space after hours....

Read the entire story courtesy of National Retail Federation:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Climbing Walls Are Moving Into a Shopping Center Near You!

Walk inside a former grocery store in Salt Lake City, and you’ll find customers scaling the walls.

The site, which used to be a Smith’s supermarket, is now a climbing gym. There’s a towering wall that lets as many as 100 people ascend a simulated rockface for two or three hours at a time. Outside, the parking lot is regularly packed with cars.

Momentum Indoor Climbing has served as the anchor for the neighborhood’s strip mall since 2014, assuming a role that’s typically held by large retailers such as big-box stores. It’s part of a shift for shopping centers, many of which are scrambling to replace tenants. With several national chains filing for bankruptcy this year and even Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shuttering dozens of supercenters, there’s plenty of space to fill....

Read the entire article courtesy of Bloomberg:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Deloitte Survey: Back-to-School Shoppers Look for Easy A's

More than two-thirds of surveyed parents say school recommendations influence spending more than children's requests; Brick-and-mortar still rules for back-to-school.

Retailers that promote early deals and take the hassle out of back-to-school shopping will get the extra credit this year, according to Deloitte's "2016 Back-to-School Survey" of parents with children in grades K-12.

On average, parents will spend $488 for clothing, accessories, school supplies, computers and other electronics for their children this year. The earlier the shopper, the higher the budget: Respondents who said they plan to start shopping for back-to-school by the end of July are likely to spend 26 percent more than those who begin in August or later....

Read the entire article and see the survey courtesy of PR Newswire:

Friday, July 22, 2016

Americans Spent Gas Savings on Dining, Shopping ... and More Gas

Falling oil prices saved Americans hundreds of dollars at the gas pump in 2015, and a lot of them spent those savings … at the gas station.

Middle-income households saved an average of $477 through the year, thanks to gas prices that fell 28 percent from 2014. The biggest business winners of the gas-price windfall were restaurants and retailers, both of which saw their share of consumers' budgets increase. The data come from a report by the JPMorgan Chase Institute published Thursday.

A big chunk of the gasoline savings — a full $155 — was spent right back at the gas station. Consumers bought more gas, higher-quality gas and snacks....

See the rest of the findings courtesy of CNBC:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The 'Me Generation' Is Still The Most Valuable Generation

The marketing landscape today bares little similarity to that of the 1970s, yet, through the dawn of digital and proliferation of new channels, one element has remained consistent: the focus on consumers between ages 18 and 49. 

The entire idea that this demographic cohort is the target-customer Holy Grail began with baby boomers. They were a new breed of consumer, born into the boon times after World War II and dubbed the “Me Generation” for their newfound love of all things material. They inspired a revolution in advertising, but at some point, marketers miscalculated. The importance was attributed to age, when it should have been affixed to the group itself....

Read the entire article courtesy of MediaPost: 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Amazon, Netflix, YouTube Earn 'Best Perceived Brands' Status

“If you focus on the customers and giving them the things they like and need, you can capture more market share,” Marzilli says. “It's not rocket science -- it's good business.”
Amazon, Netflix and YouTube remain in the top three spots in YouGov BrandIndex’s Top 10 Best Perceived Brands for the first half of 2016. 

YouGov BrandIndex crunched the daily Buzz scores of 1,400 brands it tracks from Jan. 1 through June 30 to determine these scores. Buzz score is determined by asking respondents: “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?   A score can range from 100 to -100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position....

Read the entire article courtesy of Marketing Daily:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Here's How Big-Box Retailers Fought Back Against Prime Day, Amazon's Biggest Sales Day Ever

Last Tuesday's Amazon Prime Day (7/12/16) was the biggest sales day in company history, with some analysts estimating $1 billion worth of goods sold during the 24-hour event.

Amazon heavily promoted the event, and some analysts believe Prime Day is now one of the biggest shopping holidays in the world.

But that doesn't mean big-box retailers just stayed idle, watching Amazon reap all the benefits....

See what some of the largest Amazon competitors did to counter Prime Day last week courtesy of Business Insider:

Monday, July 18, 2016


The nation’s largest retailers, as ranked by STORES Magazine and Kantar Retail, have collectively held their top spots thanks to one common denominator: rethinking merchandise offerings while enhancing their omnichannel efforts. The annual ranking of U.S. retailers by domestic sales is featured in the July issue of STORES and was sponsored by Apex and Olapic.

“Retail’s balance of power resides firmly in the hands of the consumer, and forward-thinking merchants who embrace this ongoing shift are poised to recast the future,” STORES Media Editor Susan Reda said. “Merchants who conduct business in an every-channel-of-engagement-matters environment are the ones who cultivate loyal shoppers. They’re also the ones leading retail’s digital transformation.”...

Read the entire article courtesy of National Retail Federation:

Friday, July 15, 2016

Pokémon Go Is Good Business for Small Businesses

Pokémon Go users gotta catch ’em all—and small businesses are taking advantage of their obsession with the viral smartphone game.

The augmented reality app, which soared to the top of download charts over the weekend, uses location tracking and cameras to help users capture animalistic characters from Pokémon, the Japanese cartoon franchise. It’s sent users wandering into the streets and parks in search of Squirtles and Blastoises to add to their Pokédex.

The app has also caused ambitious trainers to seek out their local pizzeria or coffee shop, many of which have been designated as Pokéstops where players can replenish on supplies, or as gyms, where they can train characters for battle.

Pokémon Go has created a huge opportunity for local businesses, and they’re already capitalizing on the app’s wild popularity. Some businesses are paying the app a $10 daily fee to purchases lures, or items that attract users, for their store to drive foot traffic. At L’iniozio, a pizzeria in Long Island City, Queens, the manager paid to lure a dozen Pokémon characters into his establishment. The restaurant’s manager, Sean Benedetti, told the New York Post that the shop’s business spiked by 75% over the past few days....

Read the entire article courtesy of Time:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Retailers, Start Your Engines: Back-To-School Is on the Horizon

The July 4th fireworks may be over, but the retail fireworks are only about to begin as stores gear up for a back-to-school selling season that's all the more crucial after recent weakness.
The coming weeks should see fresh campaigns from the likes of JC Penney, Old Navy and Kohl's. Though all three brands told Ad Age they will market the back-to-school season, they have yet to divulge specific plans.
Sales for the back-to-school period, the second-most important shopping time of the year, are expected to rise a modest 2.6% over last year, according to eMarketer. After a lackluster holiday season and a first-quarter bloodbath across retail, clothing retailers in particular have their work cut out as consumers shy away from apparel in favor of experiences and electronics...

Read the entire article courtesy of AdAge:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Female Buying Power

Forbes recently estimated that women drive approximately 70 to 80 percent of all consumer purchasing. This estimate and other reports have led many experts to consider the female demographic the engine of today’s economy. Women are buying products for their professional lives and for the home and family, which means that behind most women lies a whole network of consumers. To stay competitive, retailers should constantly reinvent their strategy for selling to this demographic. Revisit core questions like, “What kind of products make their lives – and the lives of the people they are buying for – easier and more efficient?” And then, “What are the hottest trends in technology, color and fashion that will help them personalize their experience?” As we move into the back half of 2016, here are a few key tech categories that will enhance the lifestyle of the female consumer – and that come with stylish options for personalization....

Read the entire article courtesy of Dealerscope:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Small Businesses Shake Up the Mix at Local Malls

When a 4,000-square-foot space opened up at Town Center Corte Madera, an open-air shopping center near San Francisco, Colliers International had a choice. The brokerage firm could seek out another large tenant to fill the space, or divide it into two less-expensive locations that would be friendlier to small businesses.

After parsing through sales data and noticing a spurt in small-business revenue, Colliers opted to split the space in two, leasing out one half to a local salad and sandwich joint. Since opening at the center in 2013, that San Francisco-based restaurant's sales per square foot have increased 5 percent annually, to $1,800 a square foot.

"They're performing far stronger than a restaurant tenant that we have there in 5,000 square feet that's national," said Anjee Solanki, national director of USA retail services at Colliers.

The Corte Madera property is not alone. With sales growth at small-business retailers outpacing that of their larger competitors nearly every month over the past four years, landlords are looking more favorably at mom-and-pop tenants than in the past....

Read the entire article courtesy of CNBC:

Friday, July 8, 2016

Study Points Up Importance of the Human Touch in Shopping Journey

A traditional, low-tech customer service feature can help prompt shoppers to follow the path to purchase.

According to a new study from technology services company Mindtree, “Mindtree Shopper Survey 2016,” good old-fashioned human sales associates have a big impact on consumers moving from thinking about a purchase to actually making one....

Read the entire article courtesy of Retailing Today:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

5 Trends That Are Radically Reshaping Shopper Marketing

Malls are lumbering, claustrophobic dinosaurs, while anchor stores like Macy's and Kohl's are shuttering hundreds of locations. Fresh Direct and Peapod make it easier and quicker to stock a cupboard than wading through the jam-packed neighborhood Kroger, and Amazon and eBay and Overstock sell, well, everything.
Who needs retail anymore?

In fact, 71 percent of U.S. consumers say they still prefer to buy from physical stores even if the same products are available online, according to a recent TimeTrade survey, which also found that 85 percent like to shop in stores because they say they want to "touch and feel" items before buying them.

Online shopping accounts for only about 9 percent of total consumer retail spending, according to the most recent quarterly figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. But make no mistake—everyone from retail behemoths to specialty boutiques is feeling the pressure to adapt more seamlessly to the digital world, to bring in that all-important foot traffic and to deliver an experience that consumers can get nowhere else...

Read the entire article courtesy of ADWEEK:

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New Report: Return On Loyalty Program Investments Higher Than Ever Before

Bond Brand Loyalty, North America's leading brand loyalty agency, today released its sixth annual consumer loyalty report. The 2016 Bond Loyalty Report reveals that 81 percent of consumers are more likely to continue doing business with brands that offer loyalty programs. Despite this, the report finds that many programs are missing the opportunity to personalize offers and communications. Only 22 percent of respondents are very satisfied with the level of personalization they're getting from brands, yet, satisfaction is eight times higher when programs are highly personalized. When it comes to customer experience only 20 percent strongly agree that a brand or program representative makes them feel special and only a quarter of respondents feel that the program experience is consistent across varied touch points (such as online, by email, by phone and in person).

The 2016 Bond Loyalty Report, conducted in collaboration with Visa, is the largest study of its kind. The report captures responses from roughly 12,000 U.S. and 7,000 Canadian consumers. The report covers 58 dimensions of loyalty program performance including program mechanics, communications, rewards, needs fulfillment, loyalty emotional and behavioral outcomes, and brand alignment.

Year-over-year program satisfaction is steady at 44 percent even as loyalty solutions continue to innovate, indicating that member expectations are increasing just as quickly as programs are evolving. Developing meaningful loyalty programs that meet customers' needs while deepening their relationship with brands is a difficult challenge, but when designed and operated effectively can reduce program costs and strongly influence consumer behavior....  

Read the entire article courtesy of PR Newswire:

Monday, June 20, 2016


Foods and beverages have long been at the epicenter of health and wellness lifestyles. In fact, consumers usually enter the world of wellness by making changes to their physical health and wellness. This means what they put in their bodies, what consumers eat and drink. They typically begin by adding more nutritious and healthy foods and beverages and then follow with eliminating foods and beverages that are nutritionally lacking or contain unwanted ingredients. Nothing else will affect wellness lifestyles quite like the essential and frequent nature of food and beverage consumption.

The realities of consumers’ aspirations and demands to eat and drink healthier products and experience higher-quality wellness lifestyles have been the dominant factor driving the innovation of products and brands and the retail shopping experience. What trends are gaining momentum to shape the future of shopping for health and wellness products and services?...

See the the article courtesy of the Hartman Group:

Friday, June 17, 2016

Single women help drive SUV boom

Nora Patey knew what she wanted when she went car shopping over Presidents Day weekend: a small SUV, with a backup camera, high carriage and a reasonable monthly lease payment. Even so, many of the salesmen made their pitches to her boyfriend.

“He would have to say, ‘It’s not my car, don’t talk to me, talk to her,’ ” the 24-year-old recalled. “Even though I would initiate the introduction and say that I was looking for the car, and I was buying it, a lot of the conversation would frequently get directed to him.”

Like Patey, who eventually bought a 2016 Mazda CX-5, a growing number of women are shifting the gender demographics of vehicle sales and challenging automakers’ long-held assumptions about who drives their cars. In particular, single women are buying more SUVs, fueling a surge in demand that has 2016 on pace to top last year’s record 17.5 million light-vehicle sales in the U.S....

Read the entire article courtesy of the Detroit News:
(Photo: Mazda)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Boomers, Youngsters Fuel Surging Vinyl Record Sales

SALISBURY, Md. — Little more than a decade ago, many people would have thought the vinyl record was a relic of a past age; a nostalgic piece of history that new technology has rendered obsolete.

But to the happy surprise of antique dealers and collectors, the last 10 years or so have witnessed a resurgence in the LP. 

Salisbury resident and vinyl aficionado Matthew Gunby said vinyl offers a unique experience that has been lost in our digital world.
“There’s something very special about sitting and taking the time to put on what you think you want to hear, instead of just hitting a shuffle button and skipping through songs,” he said, adding that he thinks younger generations have discovered and started to love that same experience.

“There’s just something really wonderful about that,” he said....

Read it all courtesy of USA Today:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Painting A New Landscape

Sherwin-Williams’ acquisition of Valspar Corp. in an $11.3 billion deal has the potential to redefine the paint and coatings industry on a global scale, according to some hardware executives, even as many industry followers prefer to take a wait-and-see approach.

Once completed — and it is not expected to be finalized until the first quarter of 2017 — Sherwin-Williams would become the industry’s largest paint company, overtaking PPG Industries and Akzo Nobel N.V. Prior to this deal, Sherwin-Williams had ranked No. 3 and Valspar No. 4.

The move comes as Valspar has taken a larger role in the paint offerings of Ace Hardware, and more recently, Memphis, Tennessee-based distributor Orgill. In March of this year, Orgill and Valspar teamed up to create a colorful store-within-a-store offering called the Paint Works....

Get the entire picture courtesy of HBS Dealer:

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