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National Retail Federation - Retail's Big Show 2016

Coffee with CART: 1/21 Recap

In last week’s Coffee with CART, Schuyler and Sterling reflected on NRF (National Retail Federation) 2016. Among the companies represented at NRF was Amazon. Amazon is not a brick-and-mortar company, however, retailers can no longer think of only brick-and-mortar stores within their zip code as their competitors. Their competition now includes everyone, due to the rapidly growing world of online shopping. Online shopping is the most trending retail business today. According to Retail Dive, what is driving the transformation most is the Internet and mobile technology, the rise in millennial spending power, the empowerment of the consumer and the impact of globalization. Robin Lewis, CEO of the Robin Report, said “We are right now in the middle of the biggest, most profound transformation in the history of retail.” Many brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling challenged by pressures of sales growth, but hope is in sight. Brick-and-mortar businesses have at least one advantage, and that is their stores, themselves. Shoppers are surrounded by atmosphere and friendly face-to-face customer service that the Amazons of the world cannot provide. Another topic was on how…

traditional marketing versus inbound marketing

How Marketing is Changing, Yet Again

I recently attended a webinar presented by Hub Spot, where they took a look at what will drive marketing success in 2016. They discussed how buyer behaviors have changed, and as a result advertising has changed. In 2007, Apple introduced the first ever iPhone. Back then, mobile did not even factor into website design. Today, mobile browsing exceeds desktop browsing. Another change is in website security. Heightened security has become more common because website attacks are happening more now than they used to. Not surprisingly, advertising has changed. TV commercials, direct mail and phone calls are all traditional ways to reach the consumer. But 86% of TV viewers skip the commercials, 44% of direct mail is never opened, and there are 200 million people on the Do Not Call list. So what can you do when advertising becomes less effective? Create content that can be found on a search and that will stay on a search over time. 70% of traffic comes from old content. If you are spending money on content, make sure it is only the very best…

Example of pop up box to get customers to sign up for eClub.

Using a Modal Window or “Lightbox” to Grow Email List

When we built a new website for Warehouse Market’s 15 stores in the Tulsa area, they also asked for an email marketing program. In order to allow customers to sign up for the email distribution list, we included a promotional graphic and a signup form on the website. To make it more apparent and easy to sign up, we created a “lightbox” popup form. After the customer is on the website for a few seconds, they will see the form show up, giving them an opportunity to sign up before going any further. If they choose not to, they can close the popup and continue viewing the website. The popup won’t show up again for another 24 hours. However, the customers seem to be ok with the popup. In fact, many must be using it. There were 600 customers who signed up for the email program within the first 3 weeks the website was up, and they have continued to collect approximately another 100 signups each week.

The Roasterie golf cart

How Big Brands Collaborate

I recently attended a Coffee and Design meetup where three local organizations talked about collaboration. Although the title of the discussion mentions “Big Brands”, these three organizations do not consider themselves big. They do not feel big. Their brands are well-known locally, but when compared with large organizations within their markets, they are among the little guys. Having that small company mentality has its advantages. Yes, they each have become a big brand in Kansas City, but they remember what it was like to truly be a small organization, when they had to wear multiple hats. A smaller company has more flexibility, creativity and authenticity. They have more opportunity to collaborate, comparing this collaboration to a “jam session” among musicians. The Roasterie goes so far as to say, “We want to be the supporting cast. It’s not about us. We want to help support other organizations like Sporting or Hallmark or Jasper’s.” Although Boulevard Brewing Company and Sporting KC each have regulations to follow, they feel they have less red tape to deal with than what large corporations do. When…

Coffee with CART: 9/17 Recap

Amazon’s Latest Growth Strategy Amazon wants to deliver fresh produce and wild seafood from farmer’s market to your door within 36 hours. Amazon has been aggressive recently about expanding its presence in the food delivery sector. Are they throwing too much against the wall? Is this a growth strategy or are they simply experimenting? Heineken Picks up the Tab Heineken USA partners with Gratafy and buys Facebook and Twitter users a beer in hopes of expanding its customer base to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Houston. A customer of legal drinking age can enter their smartphone’s number to get a link sent to their phone. They then click on the link and select “choose a bar.” The user is asked to allow access to their location information, which is used to order up the list of bar options near the user’s location. After the bar is chosen, the user receives a code, which can be exchanged for their free Heineken. Ad Blocks Retailers need to be online. That’s where their shoppers are. But what part should they play in…

YouTube logo

YouTube for your Small Business

According to TJ McCue, who wrote the article, “30+ Ways To Use YouTube Effectively”, YouTube is a terrific way for small business owners to compete with the big brands. Today’s consumers prefer reading small chunks of text and they love watching videos. Watching a video is easier than reading a text-based advertisement and it is more appealing for the fast-paced digital community of millennial shoppers. A high percentage of online audiences are known to interact with videos. Click through rates are always higher for videos than they are for banner and text ads. While video production can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Although we are more entertained by big productions, I’ve seen several decent looking videos on the Internet, recorded with someone’s phone or digital camcorder. If you’re recording a demo in the store with the camera staying stationary, your video may likely be internet-worthy. Some ideas for what to post on YouTube include: TV spots to advertise weekly specials, services or a rewards program Cooking demonstrations Tips from the butcher on how to slice the different cuts…

wall electrical socket with WordPress logo

There’s A Plug-in For That

In reference to mobile phone users, you may have heard people say, “There’s an app for that.” In the WordPress world, you may hear, “There’s a plugin for that.” At the recent WordPress Camp in Kansas City, some of the collaboration included conversations on plugins. Do you need help backing up your WordPress site? There are plugins for that. If you don’t care to use comments on your website, disable them. If you do think comments would be helpful, be prepared to get a lot of spam, although you can use a plugin called Akismet to help control spam. Videos are a popular form of media on the internet. If you want something more custom-looking on your website to play videos other than embedding Youtube, you can select from video player plugins. While plugins add to the functionality of a website, it is not wise to use more than a few plugins on one site. Having too many increases the risk of them conflicting with each other and not being able to keep up with the many updates that are…

WordPress security

Keeping Your WordPress Website Secure

I attended WordCamp – Kansas City last weekend, a conference where entrepreneurs and website designers and developers came together to learn more about the WordPress web platform. One session I went to was about keeping your website secure. The speaker, Michele Butcher, whose job is to clean infected websites said, “We will never be 100% secure because the Internet is always evolving.” Sounds scary, but I see the truth in that. I’ve heard WordPress is vulnerable to hacking but with some extra effort (sometimes lots of extra effort), it can be guarded from hackers. A WordPress website is a good solution when a retailer would like to maintain his own website but he would like some help with the initial setup. The administrator of the website has full access to design the site and add functionality. Then the retailer can take over to update the content in the role of an additional admin, an editor or an author. Just as building and maintaining the website is a team effort between the retailer and ourselves, so is keeping the site secure.…

mobile responsive website

Mobilegeddon Solution

Last month Google rolled out a new algorithm, a mobile friendly update that is expected to affect traffic to websites. Because of the new algorithm, known as “Mobilegeddon”, Google is indirectly penalizing websites that are not mobile responsive or mobile friendly by not placing them as high in their search ranking. According to an internet trends report by Mary Meeker, Mobile Internet use is growing faster than Internet usage in general: There are 2.8 billion Internet users, up 8 percent from 2014, and 2.1 billion mobile Internet users, an increase of 23 percent. I attended a 4-day training class on Mobile Web App Development. Without getting into too much detail about Javascript, media queries and pixels, I will say we learned some tips and some logic behind mobile responsive web design. Once upon a time developers created two or three websites, all with similar content but each site included images and text sizes based on the size screen the website was viewed on. That takes a lot of design and development time. Now we use so many devices, which have…

CocaCola freestyle machine

Adobe’s SUMMIT – The Digital Marketing Conference

The Adobe Summit conference took place in Salt Lake City March 9-13 with the theme, “Marketing Beyond Marketing” and featured Adobe’s Marketing Cloud. One session was on Coca-Cola, a brand that has found a way to reach a new generation for 128 years. Laurie Buckingham, the Chief Development Officer from the product side of company, spoke on how Coca-Cola is using marketing beyond marketing to continue to reach consumers and create the happiness experience for all. She asks, “How can we bring that experience to everyone in the world?” Considering how every country can relate to their country’s flag, they asked people to send in their selfies during the FIFA World Cup. They then used those selfies from 150 countries to create a digital flag. People could download an image of the flag and zoom into their own photo. Laurie says you need to surprise people. They put Coca-Cola vending machines on college campuses during finals week, a stressful time for college students. The vending machines turned out to be hugging machines. A student walks up to the machine, gives…