Tag Archives: walmart

Using Geofencing to Observe Shopper Behavior

This post was originally published on the Research Now blog.

It is widely discussed that mobile opens up incredible
opportunities for researchers. It is perhaps equally widely discussed that
mobile provides challenges for researchers ‘ especially those most reticent to
part with, let’s say, more traditional approaches. I could think of a number of
examples of this two-sided coin, but I’ll leave all of those, save one, for
future discussions.

One that the industry needs to tackle head on is the use of
geolocation for understanding shopper behavior. So much opportunity! But
logistics and analysis is so hard (for many rooted in market research)! The
notion of using geolocation itself for research is no longer new. Geofencing
has been used to target people for research for several years ‘ with the most
commonly used methodologies centered around delivering a survey to someone when
they are in a specific location or after they have left. In many cases this is
a viable approach to understanding shoppers ‘ and getting feedback close to the
point of experience.
Personally, I’m a fan of targeted and efficient research
engagements that ask people to recall their shopping behaviors before they
forget them. But I am also a fan of not having to ask what we don’t really need
to ask, for example who they are, where they shopped, and when. With this idea
in mind, and wanting to piggyback on prior years of researching Americans’
Black Friday shopping habits, we looked to explore how geofencing could be
effectively utilized to understand shoppers with minimal active engagement from
them. So, last Fall, we brainstormed with Placecast and their savvy team of
location-focused researchers on how we could shed new light onto shopping
behaviors around this critical time period for retailers.
While we did end up asking some questions directly of people,
we managed to glean a lot by matching our panelists’ location data with
existing profiling attributes. We discovered, for example, that the most
affluent Walmart shoppers came to the store on Black Friday when compared to
days leading up to and following that day.

The most affluent shoppers also proved to shop early in the
morning in the days immediately prior to and following Black Friday.
Understanding who shops where and when is crucial
to retailers and advertisers as they try to craft relevant messaging and
promotions for holiday sales. Combining geolocation data and associated
advanced analytics with known profiling attributes creates a compelling story
about shopper behavior, one that can be layered with surveys and other data
sources to provide actionable insights.

The industry has an opportunity here ‘ to use geolocation
data in a smart way and one that alleviates much of the survey burden often
placed on participants.

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Report Reveals What’s Hot and What’s Not in Back-to-School Shopping Trends

By: Kazon Robinson

Like with all things sales come and go, bargains come and
go, and clearance prices come and go. Whether it is the craze-induced Black
Friday sales or Cyber Monday, all companies will agree that they want their
products to be bought.
However, that plan won’t always work and sometimes there
will be less consumers wanting to buy a company’s products that season.
Sometimes people won’t want to invest their money into those sales despite the
occasion. An example of that is scene in back to school shopping seasons.
In fact, a recent
from Retail Customer Experience tells of the change in consumers. The
report references the use of annual Deloitte’s and National Retail Federation’s
survey on school related spending. Some of the information from Deloitte
Compared to college students, shopping for K-12
is seen as less important. Plus college students are more likely to buy
throughout the school year.
Consumers are not as driven by discounts
Consumers are more likely to make purchasing
decisions prior to being at the store with digital services playing a stronger
Consumers are no longer driven solely by
Next up is the National Retail Federation which lists its
own pieces off information:
The average family with children grades K-12
will spend less. The number going from $669.28 to 630.36
The total amount of spending expects to reach
24.9 billion.
Due to the economy over 76.4 percent of families
with school-age children will change their spending.
Families will spend up to $117.56 on new shoes.
Deloitte summarizes one similar point which is about the
consumer’s changing patterns. Unlike the previous year where they had gotten
better results. Deloitte LLP Vice Chairman and Alison Paul state in a report, ‘Consumers
are sending a message to retailers that says the back-to-school shopping season
just isn’t that important anymore”
As for the National Retail Federation they also imply this
change in the consumer’s patterns. NRF President said in a release, ‘As seen
over the last 13 years, spending on ‘back-to-school’ has consistently
fluctuated based on children’s needs each year, and it’s unlikely most families
would need to restock and replenish apparel, electronics and supplies every
Sales come and go, but like with all things, so do customers
thoughts on what should be bought and what shouldn’t be bought. The digitalized
marketplace and the impact of the economy show how the customer is effected in
so many ways beyond the surface level. With that in mind corporations must
always be ready to innovate and seek ways such as free shipping or same-day
delivery to entice customers.

About the Author:
Kazon Robinson is currently a Marketing Intern at IIR USA and a high school student at
All Hallows. Kazon helps oversee and revise the data entry of spreadsheets with
information relating to investors, twitter handles, and conferences. He also
has experience interacting with other writers from participating in the AH
Writers and Authors Club. He has previously worked at Bronxworks Betances
Community Center as an Office Assistant where he provided professional service
and directions for callers. He can be reached atkrobinson@iirusa.com 

Is America Breaking Up with Thanksgiving?

Several major retailers made a splash in the news this year
with their plans to kick off the Holiday shopping season early ‘ by opening for
business on Thanksgiving Day.  Many of
the pundits reacted by insisting that retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Best
Buy, JCPenney and Macy’s are ‘stealing’ Thanksgiving by opening as early as 6
p.m.  However, we’ve got evidence that
the idea of Thanksgiving ‘ at least as a sacred 12-hour stretch of family,
carbs and football ‘ is waning among key consumer groups.
This initiative on the part of retailers can be seen in one
light as just one more facet of the changing cultural landscape.  Thanksgiving was historically a combination
of religious feelings (giving thanks), extended family gatherings; and major
multicourse meals.  As a society, we’ve become
more secular, our family size has shrunk, and we are much more likely to be
eating our meals on the fly. All of these forces of social change diminish the
fit of the Thanksgiving holiday with the way that we live today.
To find out more about how people actually feel about
Thanksgiving in general as well as their reactions to retailers’ new plans to
open their doors on the holiday, we conducted research and found some
surprising results.
First, our findings suggests that Americans do feel
differently about Thanksgiving, compared to years past.  We found a significant decrease in the number
of people who expect to feel a sense of nurturance and connection to others
over the holiday. When people focused on how they expect to feel this Thanksgiving,
the strength of expectations for these emotions was reduced by as much as 20%
compared to past Thanksgivings   We also saw
a very marked increase in people who expected that they might feel somewhat
isolated and disengaged on Thanksgiving.
I suspect it’s not that Americans don’t have the same
emotional yearnings to feel connected to their loved ones and to enjoy family
time.  It’s just that the secularization
of our lifestyles, the atomization of our household structures, and the
mobilization of our eating styles all militate against this holiday.
The Risk Retailers Take
So what about doing business on Thanksgiving?  We also asked consumers how they felt about
stores opening so much earlier on Thanksgiving, and their perception of stores
who might adopt this practice.  Here the
results are strikingly polarized.
About 15 percent of the respondents don’t just like the idea
of stores opening earlier, they love it, and they definitely plan to go
shopping. These respondents were generally avid shoppers, most of whom (82
percent) say they were already committed to shopping on Black Friday, and three
quarters of these consumers say they plan to show up at stores before they
open.  The prospect of stores opening on
Thanksgiving makes these people feel good. They get a sense that the stores
understand and care about their needs as harried bargain hunters, and they feel
empowered by these new store policies. Finally, they are thinking, a retail
brand understands how important it is for me to save money and finish my
holiday shopping effectively.     
On the other hand, two thirds of respondents appear to
loathe the idea of early openings. They state that they ‘definitely will not
shop’ on Thanksgiving.  
It makes them feel unhappy and disengaged, even defeated.
They feel as if these stores and the culture are working against them,
thwarting their desire to make the holiday special and meaningful for
themselves and their families.
So — retailers are rolling the dice. Are they better off
opening early? Will they increase sales to those who would have already shopped
on Black Friday?  Will the intensified
emotional connection among these shopping enthusiasts translate to better brand
connection throughout the holidays ‘ or will retailers simply spread the early
spending of this group over two days? Only the sales records of the season will
The potential downside is that retailers may sour their
brand connection with the much larger audience. And that’s a big risk: These
people didn’t just have no emotion about Thanksgiving openings, they had very
strong negative emotions. Will it be enough to turn them against certain store
brands? Some stores seem to think so: Both Nordstrom and Costco, for example,
have held fast to their refusal to open on Thursday.
Most likely, stores will make the call based on their own
assumptions about core customers.
In the end, however our culture is changing, it’s important
to realize that we love our families as much as we ever did, whether we are inclined
or capable of gathering the clan together in one large group. Thanks to the
scattering of American families, that reunion moment seems to be getting harder
and harder to pull off.
We fulfill our need for connectedness in other ways. Chalk
some of it up to Facebook and other social media, which allows us to connect to
distant relations in ways we hadn’t before. Getting together has new forms. Who
knows? Maybe we are closer to finding a virtual Thanksgiving.
Whether you head off to Wal-Mart or not, have a great Thanksgiving

David Forbes holds a Ph.D. in clinical and cognitive
psychology from Clark University, and was a member of the faculties of Harvard
Medical School Department of Psychiatry and the Harvard Laboratory of Human
Development before beginning his career as a business consultant. Dr. Forbes
founded Forbes Consulting over 20 years ago as a strategic market research
consultancy dedicated to creating business advantage through deep psychological
consumer insights. Since that time, he has built Forbes into a major resource
for scores of major corporations in the CPG, Financial Services, and Pharmaceuticals
industries, domestically and internationally.

Walmarts Black Friday Ads Go Viral Early

Walmart (in a brilliant strategic move) “Black Friday” ads have been leaked ahead of time. Most major retailer wait for these Black Friday ads to be printed and distributed traditionally but this move (if Walmart did it on purpose) is very smart on a few bases:

1) People are getting the info far enough ahead to plan a trip to walmart and purchase specific black friday deals.

2) To VIEW the deals, all you have to do is search for retailer+black friday on google.com which *many* people are doing since they want deals. Plus they are spreading like wildfires on various coupon/deals sites.

Social media channels have allowed retailers to get their products and low prices infront of millions of eyeballs at a much lower cost then traditional methods. How does this apply to your social marketing efforts? Are you using social media channels to capture people at different touch points?

If we think about building a community; which TOOL or social media platform would you choose to get the word out or word of mouth campaign going?

Recently I have been looking more closely at Facebook and what advantages there are for B2B applications. The users are there; of course mostly for personal reasons but they are there.

Gettting users to FAN/Like a page is the 1st step in building the community around a brand, event or whatever your product may be. It seems more and more that incentivizing the “Fan/Like” is where the call to action comes into place and you can gain a stronger userbase around your brand.

In Walmart’s case, each and everytime they lower a price, their fans are interested in knowing about these deals so “FANS/Likes” are much easier to get.

For B2B organizations it seems like the incentive has to be appropriate to the audience. Since we are not selling a Plasma TV we have to think about what our users would want within their work environment and appeal to those needs/wants.

Some ideas:
Product/Service Discounts
Starbucks Giftcards
Unique White Papers
Case Studies
Members Only Content
Ipads/Tech Gear

What does your company do to get FANS/Likes?

Update from Shopper Insights in Action!

Hi Everyone:

Hard to believe that July is already here and the 9th annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference is taking place next week, July 14-17, 2009 at the Hilton Chicago. We’re excited to announce that the show is going to be a hit, with hundreds of best-in-class brands, retailers and industry thought-leaders attending.

The event producers are busy adding new speakers and sessions as well as developing new onsite elements that add value to your experience. It is our goal to ensure everyone who attends leaves with a plethora of contacts, insights and ideas.

We’re excited to announce 12 new speakers and 7 new sessions have been added to the program totaling over 50 educational sessions with 75+ speakers.

‘ Candace Adams, former Senior Director, In-Store Experience, WalMart joined the retail panel on Thursday afternoon. She will join fellow panelists Chris Borek, Manager, In-Store Digital Marketing for Target, Mark Heckman, Vice President of Marketing for Marsh Supermarkets and Ryan Mathews, Consultant for FedEx Kinko’s. As seasoned retailers, they will discuss their perspectives on how the in-store shopping environment will evolve in the next 5, 10 and 20 years to meet shopper needs. Candace recently left WalMart and has joined shopper-centric research consultancy, SmartRevenue.

‘ Candace Adams will also participate in a breakout session on Thursday afternoon featuring brand executives from Unilever, Sara Lee and Kimberly Clark. This session will feature how WalMart worked with their brand partners using virtual reality technology to improve the shopping experience of their SuperCenter stores.

‘ Stephen Day, Global Consumer Insights for Electronic Arts along with Brand Cruz, VP of Retail and eCommerce Practice Leader for Chadwick Martin Bailey will discuss ‘The Evolution of the ‘Gamer’ Market and How Segmentation Helped EA Develop a Groundbreaking Strategy’

For a complete list of new speakers and updates, click here http://www.iirusa.com/upload/wysiwyg/2009-M-Div/M2115/PDFs/New_Sessions_Added_to_the_Program_6-29-09.pdf

To download the full event agenda, visit http://www.iirusa.com/insights/at-a-glance.xml .

Plus, Shopper Insights producers have added 3 NEW RESOURCES AVAILABLE to Attendees Only
‘ Everyone who attends will have access to the POST-CONFERENCE REPORT, written by Socratic Technologies. This report will synthesize key findings from the event.

‘ Attendees will also get access to a USER-GENERATED POST-CONFERENCE REPORT, a collection of key takeaways by various participants at the event. This report will be made available to all attendees 2 weeks following the event.

‘ Everyone who walks in will be given an ROA, Return on Attendance Toolkit to ensure they get the valuable information needed to prove their return on attendance.

If you haven’t already registered, don’t worry, it’s not too late! And because of how important you are to us, our LinkedIn group members receive a 20% discount to attend. Use my personal code AMANDASHOP09 when you register. To register visit www.shopperinsightsevent.com.

I hope to see you there!

All the best,

Amanda Powers
Shopper Insights in Action Conference Director