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The mile marker painted white on the blacktop of the footpath on a close up view.

Chasing the Last Mile

Of all the hot topics in retail these days, last-mile fulfillment is one of the hottest. Independent grocery retailers are becoming more comfortable with the notion of click and collect eCommerce, but last mile seems to be another beast altogether. There are concerns, for sure. But, as more and more competitors venture into delivery, retailers are asking how they can get in the game. At the Home Delivery World conference in Atlanta in April, Bringg laid out seven steps in the delivery process and how retailers can prepare to tackle it head on. 7 steps in delivery: Streamline processes – ensure the data used to power delivery is correct. Have the right product and pricing information and understand what’s even going to be available via delivery. Improve Efficiency – Learn how to track inventory and have driver visibility for both the driver and the customer. Use real time data and consider proof of delivery. Provide Visibility – Build trust with on-time delivery and use data to understand each component of the process and how to continuously improve it. Communicate effectively…

Producing & Protecting A Digital STAMP

The words technology and digital can be scary. It isn’t so much that they have to do with change but sometimes that they have to do with the unknown. Yet, as Erik Qualman assured retailers during his presentation at the AWG Innovation Showcase in March, connecting with customers today isn’t really about technology, it’s about relationships, and independent grocery retailers already know relationships. In his presentation, Qualman reminded retailers that all of them have a digital stamp composed of their digital footprint (what is uploaded to the internet by them) and their digital shadow (what everyone else says online). Digital leadership then comes down to producing and protecting the best digital stamp possible. Qualiman outlined five habits that stand the test of time when it comes to digital leadership because according to him, digital leaders are made, not born and digital tools are in place when time and distance are an issue in reaching customers. S – Simple Digital leaders make “not-to-do” lists. This helps them streamline by taking things away versus making a to-do list which just consists of…

Mining Search Behavior

We all lie. Whether on surveys, in focus groups, or on social media platforms, there’s a story we’re all trying to present in a certain way. Tylor Hermanson, Manager of Search Solutions at Intouch Solutions, opened his recent KCDMA presentation on harnessing search behavior in all facets of marketing with that context. Hermanson referenced the book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. Hermanson went on to reveal, though, that search behavior may be a better indicator of how people feel and how you can influence them. Thus, keyword research is worth investing in, and harnessing, for the learnings it can provide in all different contexts. With the understanding that keyword research is something worth looking into, Hermanson helped explain some of the basics of it. Rule 1: Don’t start with keywords. Hermanson reminded the marketers in the room to draw from what they know about their industry, competition, brands, and insights already gathered. Use this information to inspire the keyword research rather than pulling keywords…

Creating Content Without Keeling Over

When Greta Perel started describing the phantom English teacher on our shoulders at the Social Media Club of Kansas City’s February breakfast, I immediately pictured a little lady sitting on my shoulder yelling at me about commas and using words more exciting than the ones I’d used in the sentences before. Perel nailed the challenge that I have daily with writing content for marketing and digital media: I keep applying the rules of writing term papers to content that is supposed to be fun, interesting, and engaging. No wonder I’m frustrated. Thankfully, at Perel’s session, she shared tactics to formulate an unmistakable voice and irresistable writing using a practical and office-ready approach. Voice is the first component Perel reviewed during her presentation. There are Perel’s four elements to voice: Humor – It gets people to relax and disarms them. She advises going with the self deprecating variety if you can’t think of anything else. Likeability – Be vulnerable, it’ll help people connect with you. Curiosity – Readers are lazy, selfish, and distracted. Your writing has to arouse and fulfill them…

Finding Your Voice

It’s a little bit daunting: this act of writing about an event geared at helping people get better at writing. Yet, here I am. Staring at the computer screen as I so often am, wondering how to string these words together. My lack of confidence in this task doesn’t mean the presentation wasn’t good. Kasey Laine Riley did a great job. With energy and zeal and gusto, she walked the audience of the American Marketing Association KC event through how she’s found her own writing voice and how she intends to help us find ours. Writing is about a process, but it isn’t the same process for everyone. That’s where Riley started. For most people, she noted, the same obstacles pop up: time, anxiety, and lack of inspiration. She suggested combating those hurdles in three ways: Get a notebook to jot down ideas. Don’t use your phone, warns Riley. That little bugger will divert your attention the second you pick it up. Stay updated. Read articles, read everything (especially fiction she says since those clever fiction writers know how to…

A Look Ahead to 2018

Attracting and retaining consumers to independent retail brick and mortar locations didn’t get any easier in 2017, but as we look ahead to 2018, there’s good news for retailers in the grocery space. Programs are evolving, consumers are becoming more educated, and manufacturer partners have more ways than ever to help independent retailers compete with the biggest players in the industry. Here’s a look at what AWG Marketing/Advertising will be focusing on in 2018: Online Shopping Retailers both large and small are jumping into online shopping in efforts to bring consumers convenience. Online shopping providers continue to introduce features that consumers want such as shopping directly from a weekly ad, recipe integration with shopping lists, and suggested items based on past purchases. Providers are integrating with other digital media companies, streamlining the use of frequent shopper programs, digital coupons, and email. Their diversifying their offerings with supplemental services like meal kits and offering special discounts to help retailers participate. Plus, AWG Marketing continues to pursue online shopping program extensions that offer deliver and algorithmic manufacturer offers based on a customer’s…

The Innovation Equation

Everyone’s chasing it: a new idea that resonates. It could be building a company where everyone wants to work, a product that meets unmet needs, or a piece of content that elicits emotion. In a world where change is happening all the time and innovation is a buzzword lacking an understood meaning across trades, finding a way to break through can be complicated. Yet, at a recent American Advertising Federation Kansas City event with leaders from VML and Hallmark, maybe the solution to the innovation equation is within reach if we’re willing to invest in it. The potential key? Diversity and inclusion. Itself a facet of business that’s changing quickly, the need for diversity and inclusion isn’t lost on most people. As Phil Polk, Vice President of Multicultural Strategy at Hallmark explained, the way to foster diversity and inclusion throughout a company is to “teach the organization to fish”. For Hallmark, Michael Gonzales, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, explained that this meant giving business leaders a comfort level with saying they don’t know everything. Hallmark even created a Center for…

What's Your Brand?

Branding Online – A How To

When it comes to branding online, independent retailers get the heebie jeebies. They have the traditional pieces down: put their name on the store sign, publish an ad with that same name on it, run radio ads with the name attached. Yet, with social media, branding 101 sometimes goes out the window. At a recent Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast, Eric Melin, Senior Social Media Community Manager at Callahan Creek talked through the topic of melding personal and professional brands online. His overall point urged social users to be their real selves online, but in the midst of that, he gave a great lesson on social branding 101 applicable to independent grocery retailers. To start, whether you know it or not, your store already has a brand online, just like, Melin noted, everyone. People search every day on Google and social media platforms for information about people they meet and places they support. The results of those searches can be mentions in the articles, or rouge social media accounts created by patrons, or simply a customer talking about…

Web of connecting lines coming together.

Solving the Disconnected Digital Grocery Journey

In theory, omnichannel marketing is fantastic. In practice, it’s much harder, especially for independent retailers who are trying to wrap their hands around all the different ways to reach consumers. Even the large retailers are trying to figure out which platforms to use, how to make them work together, and how to help consumers have the most fluid experience possible. A recent webinar put on by Brick Meets Click featuring Lunds & Byerlys and Unata addressed this disconnected digital grocery journey. Part 1: Grocery Retailing Realities: The Physical – Digital Connection What we know to be true right now is ecommerce is evolving how consumers shop. David Bishop from Brick Meets Click provided the following stats: 38% of grocery consumers have shopped online in last year, up 4.1% Consumer households shop online over 2x per month Share of wallet is now almost 5% Another factor Bishop brought to light is now consumers have many more ways to buy groceries, it isn’t just a competition up and down the street. The business is fragmented with different options and different value propositions…

Person monitoring computer screens with graphs on them.

Website Data & the Power to Know

Many retailers have a website because they know they should. The site is populated with the weekly ad that gives customers the info on the best deals, recipes that make consumers want to try new meals, and pertinent information like hours and address that help make store visits easier. Very often though, retailers don’t take enough time to understand what can be learned from that website. At a recent Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast, Corey Morris of Voltage KC shared his tips on Google Analytics and how to use them to understand more about who does what on your website. To start, Morris made a great point about data. He explained how while we all know there is tons of data out there, the expectation now is that we’ve harnessed the data that’s assumably there. He also noted that mastering that data is the inherent challenge. One of Morris’s most resonating comments turned out to be “Never bring and opinion to a data fight. Don’t start a discussion with “I think” because with data, we have the power…

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