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Trending Now: May

Food trends in May are all about Mother’s Day, warmer weather, cooler foods and drinks, campouts, and the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day. Most people think of breakfast in bed or brunch when they think of Mother’s Day. But a lot of sweet treats popped up on the internet this month to help you show the moms in your life how much you care. Like these delicious Mother’s Day cakes or this beautiful edible bouquet. May isn’t just about moms. It’s also the time of year when everyone is preparing for summer. The temperatures get warmer and the food and drinks get colder. It’s the perfect time to start breaking out refreshing summer drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Expect lots of fun summer treats with boozy twists like these champagne popsicles. Or something fun for the kids like mermaid layered slushies. As the temperatures increase, more people are going outside to enjoy the sunshine. This means more cookouts and picnics. Flavorful fresh salads are a popular side dish at these outdoor events, along with other types of tasty sides…

SMCKC Blog Recap Header

SMCKC May Lunch Recap: Making A Splash on Social During Large-Scale Events

Recently I attended a SMCKC lunch titled “Making a Splash on Social During Large-Scale Events.” It was a panel Q&A with Derek Byrne of Visit KC, Rachel Kephart of KC Film (a division of Visit KC), and John Kreicbergs of Propaganda3. While I work with retailers on digital promotions for their events, they aren’t the type of large-scale events that were discussed by the panel. But I found that a lot of what they advised to the audience can be applied to small-scale events and social strategy in general. For example, all three panelists discussed the importance of keeping attendees informed before, during, and after the event. Derek Byrne manages social media for all of the college basketball tournament games that take place in Kansas City in March. For these games, Visit KC is on social media all year long, announcing games when they are scheduled, helping people plan their trips, and giving them sightseeing ideas outside of the games if they’re coming out of town to visit. John Kreicbergs works on events like Boulevardia, a craft beer and music…

Missing Images in Your Online Shopping Store

As the online shopping onboarding process gets close to launch, a somewhat surprising task falls on the shoulders of the retailer: gathering missing images for items that don’t already have a picture in the ecommerce provider’s system. The ecommerce provider will have national CPG images, product descriptions and nutritional information imported from a number of international databases. The provider will also comb through your store’s data to match available images to items that don’t have an image because of how the items are labeled or abbreviated in your backend system. Once that’s complete, a store will most likely be in the 80% image match range. (Most stores launch with an 80-90% match rate. It’ll never be 100%.) The retailer is given a missing image report and it’s usually overwhelming at first glance. It will probably have thousands of items listed, but you don’t need to get pictures for all of them. Many of the items in the list are things you no longer carry or rarely ever sell. You don’t need to worry about those. What’s the likelihood you’re going…

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

88 percent of consumers research products online before purchasing online or in-store. Wonder how you can take advantage of these searches? Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has grown with the number of consumers researching and shopping for products online. It may sound intuitive, but according to Wikipedia, Search Engine Marketing is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising. SEM may incorporate search engine optimization (SEO), which adjusts or rewrites website content and site architecture to achieve a higher ranking in search engine results pages to enhance pay-per-click (PPC) listings. As defined by Wikipedia, here are the definitions of some SEM activities and terms: Paid search advertising: When Ads are set up using an auction-based, PPC model which show digital ads on search engine results pages such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. How often your ads appear, the rankings, and how much you pay per click — are all determined from your bid and Quality Score. Quality Score: Once you create an ad and…

SEO and SEM graphic

How SEO can Strengthen your Digital Store Brand Identity

Have you ever searched for something on the Internet and found yourself looking at an entry on the 4th or 5th page? Me neither. Who has the time? There are several tasks a business can do to increase their website’s rankings. Some of these tasks are free to do yourself, while other tasks will cost you. The free tasks will take 3-6 months to see results, and depending on your technical comfort level, might end up getting farmed out anyway. If you choose the paid route, results will be more immediate. I like how Gilco Digital defined Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The process of affecting the online visibility of a website in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users; these visitors can then be converted into customers. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, video search,…

Best Buy employee assisting a customer

Adobe Summit Recap – How Best Buy is Competing with Amazon

I recently watched a keynote session from this year’s Adobe Summit. Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe, sat down to chat with Hubert Joly, the CEO of Best Buy. Joly shared some innovative ideas that may encourage any retailer who feels their business has been disrupted by the digital world. Seven years ago, Best Buy knew they needed to do something so they didn’t “die” to Amazon. They had to find a way to reach customers other than by selling them a product. They discovered customers were coming into their store to shop for products and then leaving the store to buy those products from Amazon. To discourage that, Best Buy started price matching Amazon. This was part of their Renew Blue, a marketing campaign about rebuilding the company and fixing what was broken. They also invested resources into their website and online shopping capabilities. They now ship as fast as Amazon does, for FREE. And they’ve invested in their employees to improve the customer’s in-store experience. Then came the marketing campaign, Building The New Blue, which is about reinventing…

Retail Innovation Conferece Recap

There’s one thing that’s for sure about retail today: it’s changing. There’s a debate to be had about how and to what capacity this change is happening and it certainly impacts different industries differently but what’s not debatable is that brands and retailers are frantically trying to keep up. This past week, I attended the Retail Innovations Conference to see what brands in all industries are doing to try and keep up with the evolution. Two days of content are hard to distill down to a short recap but here were the themes I saw emerge.   Not Your Old Loyalty ProgramsIn the age of data, loyalty programs are not only still alive and kicking, they’re going strong and evolving to fit the needs of retailers striving for meaningful connections with consumers. Shinola talked about how they reconsidered their program with their brand promise in mind. Macy’s Style Crew re-envisioned a program inclusive of consumer viewpoint and a new reward attainment structure. Personalization for Born shoes is driven by consistent acquisition of consumer online activity behavior data. Hershey’s hasn’t ever collected…

Communicating in a Smart and Connected City

Communicating in a Smart & Connected City – PRSA recap

Chris Hernandez, chief spokesperson for the City of Kansas City, Missouri and director of the City Communications Office, spoke at a recent PRSA luncheon. Chris’ office handles media relations, social media, the city’s website and community engagement. He shared with us some progress Kansas City has made with technology and why he sees it as a smart city. What is a Smart City? It is a city that uses creative engagement and technology to reach residents, improve sustainability and enhance the quality and performance of its services such as energy, utilities and transportation. Chris says, “It’s not about technology. It’s about delivering better services for our city.” Kansas City, Missouri is a leader when it comes to having services for our residents, compared to other cities in the metro.  Why is Kansas City considered a Smart City? Google Fiber Street car Smart street lights Bird electric scooters and bike sharing Use of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) For those who have been affected by recent flooding, they might be relieved to hear the city is currently in the process…

The Future is the Shelf Edge

The digital world is infiltrating all aspects of grocery stores and supermarkets. Whether that be blockchain allowing consumers to track food from farm to store or gathering customer data through a loyalty program to offer tailored promotions. It has now even taken over one of the oldest parts of a store, the shelf but more specifically its edge. Paper and vinyl tags will soon become a thing of the past. The days of printing shelf tags and replacing them anytime a price changes or a sale is implemented will soon be a distant memory. Not only will these digital shelf edges allow you to change prices instantly it will also allow customers to look at online reviews or ratings of any product at the shelf while shopping. How’s that for point of purchase marketing? There hasn’t been much implementation of digital or electronic shelf edges in the United States yet but the UK has shown much success with utilizing this technology and all the advantages it offers. There are two separate types of digital shelf technologies. One uses the whole…

Episode 15

This month is all about the Compete magazine. The latest issue dives into digital marketing. Sean sits down with three authors. First up is Lisa Nelson to talk about websites (4:43). Then Morgane Freeman gives a snap shot of Instagram (11:43). Finally, Kurt Kloeblen talks about the issue as a whole and gives five things retailers can do in the digital space (19:59).