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The Future of Retail

If grocers could look into a crystal ball to see what the industry is going to be like one year, two, five or even ten years down the road, what would they see? The Future of Retail study tries to answer that question each year. The 2018 edition was recently published. Here are some important pieces that I wanted to share after reading the study: Consumers are quickly embracing voice-activated interactions via digital assistants and hand-free devices, like Amazon Echo and Google Home. The key to success when it comes to customer data will be for brands and retailers to use this data to power more immersive experiences – without compromising consumer trust. Amazon’s dominance forces competing retailers to evolve. On average, two in five consumers (41%) receive 102 packages from Amazon per week. That number jumps to half for consumers ages 18-25 and 57% for consumers ages 26-35. Social media has grown as a commerce channel… new and more integrated forms of social shopping, like Instagram ads, have been a key tool for retailers. (54% of consumers report using…

The Mindful Millennial and Cause Marketing

Two of the biggest challenges facing grocery retail in 2018 will be millennials and mindfulness. With unlimited technology literally sitting in most customers pockets, mindfulness is going to be one of the biggest trends in 2018. Pew Research Center has predicted that millennials will surpass baby boomers as the largest living adult generation in 2019. This is changing the landscape of how grocery stores market themselves and do business. Price and quality are very comparable nowadays and millennials look to support causes when they shop. Visibility into the practices of businesses is the clearest it has ever been, so customers (mainly millennials) are now holding stores and companies accountable socially and ethically. 80% of consumers believe that businesses must play a role in addressing societal issues. So what does this all mean for grocery stores?   Two words: Cause Marketing. What is cause marketing? Cause marketing is when a company partners with a charitable organization to address a social or environmental problem. 91% of Americans want more products to support causes. So what can you do? AWG has the partner…

Word cloud of food words

Some Tips for Your Store to be Easily Found Online

At WordCamp 2018 I attended a session presented by Alyssa Murfey about how to use Google Trends to create a strategic content strategy. “Why do I need a content strategy,” a storeowner may ask? So your customers can find your store’s information easily online. Alyssa has worked with Wendy’s and Tropicana with the same goals in mind. Her approach works well when trying to communicate with the public: leave breadcrumbs behind and customers will think they found you by themselves. She has found a few items to keep in mind that work well together, knowledge of search and social trends, and a general knowledge of popular traffic patterns on your website. Alyssa showed us a free tool to help gain this knowledge about search queries that I hadn’t heard of: Google Trends Type in a subject, find out what words people use related to your subject when doing a search, when and where. For example I typed in “grocery” and found people are searching the term “Convenience store” in Utah during the past day. They are also looking up “camping grocery list”…

Grocer Pod – Episode 6

 I was able to to sit down with many great people Tuesday, March 26 at the AWG Innovation Showcase for the latest episode of AWP. We covered a wide range of topics. See below for contact info for each guest. Eric Qualman (0:37) – Digital Leadership Polly Schau, Wells Enterprises (8:05) – Ice Cream Doug Baker, FMI (11:37) – Smart Label Chad Fowles, Unilever (16:44) – Frozen Novelty and Personal Care Pat Hughes, eGrowcery (23:33) – Online Shopping Jim Lukens, MSC (31:15) – Digital marketing with Media Solutions Larry Elias, Retail Profit Solutions (43:37) – Labor Management Mike Kienzlen, WheresMyShrink.com (49:41) – Shrink

Hootsuite 2018 Social Trends

Recap: “Social Media Trends to Put Into Practice in 2018”

In the rapidly changing changing world of social media marketing, it’s important to stay informed about the latest and upcoming trends. To learn about how social media marketing is changing, I recently attended a Hootsuite webinar called “Social Media Trends to Put Into Practice in 2018,” hosted by James Mulvey and Amber Naslund of Hootsuite. Mulvey began the presentation by discussing the major social platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn), the recent updates that have been made to the platforms, and how brands will use them differently in the future. I’ve highlighted the three platforms we support for retailers at AWG. Facebook Mobile Video: As more consumers watch videos on mobile devices, social networks offer new opportunities to add to traditional TV content and create new forms of entertainment and news programming. Messenger Ads: Facebook now offers brands the ability to create ads that are sent directly to a customer’s inbox. Facebook Groups: Facebook created Brand Groups and they’re going to be a key marketing opportunity for brands. Brands can create groups on their business pages where audiences can…

Voice search basics

The Meteoric Rise of Voice Search & Why Brands Should Care.

“Siri, turn my phone on airplane mode.” “Alexa, set up a meeting for me at 10 a.m. and invite Tim.” “Google Home, where’s the nearest grocery store with the best deal on avocados?” These are all commands that people are giving their smart devices via voice search. It’s predicted that by 2020, up to 50% of search queries will be made by voice instead of typing them into phones or computers. Earlier this month, I attended a KCDMA luncheon where Heather Physioc, Director of Organic Search at VML, presented the current state and predicted future of voice search. She noted that there are 50 billion (that’s with a “B”) voice search queries each month. This number is rising because voice search capabilities are in our devices by default, but also people are becoming more comfortable talking to these devices. Below are some important points from Physioc’s presentation for marketers and grocers to keep in mind as voice search progresses. For the Google loyalists out there, it’s important not to ignore Bing – that other search engine that no one uses,…

Graphic from KCDMA Marketing Boot Camp 2017

Innovation Acceleration – KCDMA Boot Camp Recap 1

Last week, I attended the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association Boot Camp. This full-day conference was stacked with speakers sharing their knowledge about innovation, SEO, email marketing, networking techniques, integrated digital marketing, Google Analytics and mental toughness – all subjects that make a professional marketer successful today. Throughout the coming weeks, I’ll share highlights from what I learned. First up: innovation. José Pires started the day off with an interactive presentation on accelerating innovation at any business. This is important for the grocery industry right now due to the growth of omni-channel retailing, especially after the announcement of Amazon’s intention to purchase Whole Foods Market. Innovation is a must. Traditional grocery store owners need to pay attention. Think you’re not an innovative person? Think again. Let’s start by defining innovation. Innovation is the implementation of new ideas that create value. Innovation is not about ideas or methods. It’s about people! People transform businesses; they drive innovations. In order to innovate, people need to have or develop these three characteristics: Passion Discipline Resilience The right people have these characteristics. Find these…