New Findings on US Shoppers

by Deepak Sharma on Friday, September 28, 2007

Some retailers, manufacturers and research company Nielsen is testing a new system in US called, Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric, or P.R.I.S.M. system which measures store traffic using scanners in the aisles and researchers. Some new facts are coming to the fore by using this system like,

People who walk through the salty snacks aisle of a store are more likely to buy something than those who go past the dairy case, and consumers buy more in general when they shop with their kids.

Among other findings from the project are that shoppers are exposed to an average of about 3,500 pieces of marketing stimuli in grocery stores, including displays, packages, televisions and other items; more than 5,000 stimuli at mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N); and about 2,300 at drug stores.

Some more findings include:

Some of the findings are intuitive, Wishart said. For instance, only 13 percent of food shopping trips include kids, but shoppers buy more items when kids are with them.

But surprisingly, the items that had more sales when children were around included soup, water, canned vegetables and hair care items, Wishart said.

And even more surprisingly, the presence of children had little impact on candy sales.

Also, the middle of the day tends to have a higher percentage of people in stores who are not buying anything.

In food stores, 4.5 percent of all purchases happen around 2 p.m., but 7 percent of the store's traffic is seen then, he said.

The produce aisle tends to attract more traffic, while there are "some parts of the store that are virtual wastelands and are not visited at all," Wishart said. Those parts vary by store type and format.

New system looks at US shoppers differently

Multi-Channel Retailing success stories continue

by Deepak Sharma on Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another success story of Multi-channel Retailing.

Offline retailers are increasingly offering a way for consumers to shop online but pick up the goods in stores, allowing them to avoid shipping costs and choose from a wider selection of items than their local stores can stock. Because customers tend to bolster these purchases with others once they get into the store, retailers are profiting handsomely.

Take Wal-Mart, for instance. In recent weeks, the company, the largest retailer, completed a national introduction of its Site to Store service — in which consumers buy items from the Web site, then have the items delivered, at no charge, to their local Wal-Mart stores where they can pick them up. Items arrive within days, though the system is not yet set up to tell customers when something they want is already in stock at a local store.

According to Raul Vazquez,’s chief executive, the initiative has surpassed the company’s expectations, with about a third of all online sales occurring through this program. “It’s gone incredibly well,” Mr. Vazquez said. “None of us expected to see it reach this percentage of sales at this point.”

Multi-channeling like what Wal-Mart is doing allows users to choose from a wide variety of Products which store may not necessarily carry. Also, this reduces the shipping and carrying cost for the retailers. Another side benefit of this, Customers are spending again when they visit the store to pick up the products.

Sixty percent of customers who order on and pick up items in the local store purchase an additional $60 worth of goods at the store, he said.

It is not yet clear whether customers are merely buying goods they would have bought anyway at the stores. However, in eliminating shipping charges, the Site to Store program is erasing a hurdle cited by many consumers who browse, but do not buy, online.’s customers have avoided a total of $10 million in shipping charges through this program since it was introduced this spring.

Such programs also eliminate other hurdles to online buying. Among those consumers who have avoided online purchases, 42 percent said they prefer to see the item before buying. Analysts said that especially for purchases like apparel and furniture, customers who cannot closely inspect an item before purchasing are less willing to buy. Summit 2007 keynote

by Deepak Sharma on Friday, September 21, 2007

Just finished reading the Summit 2007 keynote by Donna Hoffman from the Sloan Center for Internet Retailing at the University of California, Riverside. The keynote titled, “The Evolution of Customer Experience: 10 Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss,” addresses the upcoming Web 3.0 and what it means to retailers.

“If Web 2.0 was about the consumer having control, then Web 3.0 is about augmenting that control with artificial intelligence,” she said.

In her talk, she stressed the top online consumer habits and what they mean for retailers today and in the future. Hoffman suggested social networking sites, virtual worlds and other types of interactive consumer-generated media as locations to look for consumer behavior.

Hoffman further spoke,

“Social shopping sites have the potential to make online shopping much more engaging,” she said. “Consumers are spending much more time on these sites.”

Move over, search engine optimization; and get ready, social networking optimization, says Hoffman. Retailers will have to prepare for how their sites link to widgets, like eBay has done. The online retail giant lets customers shop from their MySpace pages.

I have talked about Social Networking Sites and retailers earlier also, and to that post, Nick Burcher left a link to his blog post titled, 5 Great examples of retailers using Facebook where he discusses how Retailers are using Social Networking sites like Facebook. Social Networking sites provide a great and inexpensive vehicle to create communities of loyal visitors, that is if done well.

SOA bridging Retail Enterprise Silos

by Deepak Sharma on Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In the latest issue of Integrated Solutions For Retailers, there is a nice article by Tomax CEO, Eric Olafson. The article is about how Retail Enterprises silos, the "us vs them" mentality, exists as a friction against efforts to connect strategy with in-store execution. Technology while being a solution to this issue becomes a problem too.

In search of the elusive ‘best of breed,’ retailers implement point solutions within narrowly defined process and procedural boundaries. Meanwhile, software vendors spin out new, denser versions of these applications, resulting in a cottage industry called application integration. 

Worse still, each point solution requires nearly the same data, a cancer that exists across all retail IT – the burgeoning complexity of disparate solutions and underlying data integration issues that more or less brings IT progress to a coagulated halt.

Retailers are taking these issues in their stride and embracing technologies like SOA, workflows, open standards which help bridge the divide.

Happily, we are observing an industry trend to embrace technology to transcend silos. The emergence of SOA (service-oriented architecture), workflow, open standards, and source technologies are enabling new solutions and approaches that are process-driven, lightweight, faster to implement, and flexible. These same technologies drive new delivery mechanisms, giving rise, for example, to the adoption of software as a service (SaaS), where the solutions providers deliver and manage solutions faster and more economically than the retailer could on their own.

Another important trend is data centralization.  The cost of dividing and duplicating data in support of multiple applications occupies a great percentage of IT budgets. Now, a single version of the retailer’s information can support multiple applications, reporting instruments, and real-time event-driving workflow management. The cost reductions associated are massive.

On a related note, read this more elaborate article on the same topic by Tomax CEO, Eric Olafson.

Making the Leap: Driving Process and Change in Retail

Wal-Mart's New Slogan

by Deepak Sharma on Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wal-Mart is rolling out a new advertising campaign with the slogan "Save Money. Live Better" replacing "Always low prices". This is first slogan change for Wal-Mart after 19 years. This probably comes after new research which Wal-Mart commissioned from Global Insight showed that as of 2006, the retailer saved American families $2,500 each year, up 7.3 percent from $2,329 in 2004.

From MSNBC coverage:

The retailer also said new research it commissioned from Global Insight showed that as of 2006, the retailer saved American families $2,500 each year, up 7.3 percent from $2,329 in 2004.

Global Insight said in its study that the expansion of Wal-Mart from 1985 to 2006 lead to a 3.0 percent decline in overall consumer prices for all items, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, which includes prices for goods and services.

The research firm said its updated study concluded that the reduction in price levels due to Wal-Mart’s presence translated into savings for consumers of $287 billion in 2006, which is $957 per person or $2,500 per household.

Retail & Retail Technology Search Engine

by Deepak Sharma on Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Using Google Coop, I have created a Custom Search Engine for Retail & Retail Technology. You can access the same at the following URL.

This search Engine will allow you to search Retail and Retail Technology websites and blogs like,,,, etc. So far there are 35 websites and blogs the search engine uses, kindly let me know (using Comments) if you want any more websites to be added to this list.