Mobile Drives Sales on Black Friday

Data from ShopperTrak showed a 3% decline in traffic at physical stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday even though sales were up overall. That’s because retailers with strong online shopping programs saw significant gains, with a reported $9.2 billion spent on Cyber Monday alone.

In an analysis of holiday shopping campaigns, the people-based marketing platform LiveIntent found that brands had a “robust” performance on Black Friday weekend. Total conversions during Black Friday weekend stood at 36% higher than that typical time period. Retailers that pushed mobile shopping saw the greatest gains, as LiveIntent’s analysis found that mobile drove the most traffic.

5 Seed-to-Sale Platforms for Cannabis Businesses

That trend has led to a significant uptick in the number of cannabis businesses using seed-to-sale ERP software. Seed-to-sale platforms give cannabis businesses a way to track and regulate inventory. Although older seed-to-sale systems were challenging for growers to use, updated versions of the most popular platforms have been re-designed to allow growers to more easily track inventory, run smarter operations, and identify crop hazards in a way that still meets current regulations.

Here are five popular seed-to-sale platforms for cannabis businesses.

Spa Facial

The Beauty Industry is Prepping for Small Business Saturday – Here’s How

Small Business Saturday is one of the most important events of the year for local beauty and wellness providers. Spas and salons rely on sales of gift cards and beauty products to sustain their businesses during leaner times.

Developed by American Express in the depths of the recession in 2010, Small Business Saturday is placed in the middle of two of the biggest shopping events of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While proportionally fewer sales happen on Small Business Saturday than Black Friday or Cyber Monday, consumer awareness around the annual event is growing.

Valuing Diversity, Gen Z Searches for Tailor-Made Holiday Experiences

Gen Z shoppers, in particular, have more friends with different races, gender identities, and sexualities than previous generations. They are more likely to be influenced by social media stars, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, than traditional Hollywood celebrities. As a result, members of this generation value diversity more than other generations, and that value influences their purchasing decisions year-around.

“If you look at baby boomers from this lens, they’re far more homogenous. Millennials and Gen Z are the antithesis [of] homogeneity,” Hebets says. “Brands need to understand that millennials and Gen Z don’t want to be put in the traditional box with respect to marketing or otherwise. They want brands to embrace and recognize their diversity.”

Retailers Wooing Holiday Shoppers Try AI On for Size

What if e-commerce retailers could use technology to replicate the role of the in-store sales associate, providing people at home with the type of personal attention that really drives sales?

Technology vendors are working feverishly to make that a reality. Using artificial intelligence and voice assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, online retailers are beginning to imagine a world where shoppers can ask their voice companions for recommendations on product fit or gift suggestions in specific price ranges. There may even be a time, not too far in the future, when shoppers can get personal feedback during try-ons inside their own closets, thanks to “smart” mirrors and other virtual reality technology.

Holiday Discounts Don’t Necessarily Lead to Loyal Customers — Here’s Why

When brands go in on discount-focused events like RetailMeNot’s Cash Back Day, which was held earlier this month, there’s concern that the long-term impact might be negative and that brands might be training customers to expect discounts. That expectation can reduce the perceived value of the brand’s products, and it can diminish brand equity over time.

5 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience for Holiday Shoppers

The retail space starts to feel chaotic this time of year, with brands pulling out all the stops to win over holiday shoppers. Amidst all the talk of sales and discounts, retailers this year are looking at integrating new customer experience initiatives designed to bring in first-time shoppers and encourage long-time loyalists to spend even more than usual.

To learn even more about the customer experience strategies retailers are launching this year, we checked in with a few industry experts. Here are their thoughts on the best customer experience strategies retailers are trying out this holiday season.

Which Emerging Social Platforms Will Win Big This Holiday Season?

Retailers looking for an edge this holiday season are testing the waters with newer, emerging social platforms in a bid to generate awareness and market their products to huge audiences of tech-savvy teens and twenty-somethings.

On TikTok, a mobile app for creating and sharing short videos, retailers are poised to connect with a base of more than 500 million users.

With GatherUp Acquisition, ASG Expands Into Reviews Space

Mike Blumenthal says the acquisition by ASG gives GatherUp greater access to organizational value, helping the company build better products and processes faster and more robustly. He expects there to be virtually no change in GatherUp’s day-to-day activities. All of the company’s teams—including sales, customer success, engineering, and management—will remain intact following the acquisition. Aaron Weiche will stay on as CEO. Although GatherUp was founded in San Jose, the company employs a distributed team that is now focused in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

5 Innovative Ways to Use AR in Holiday Marketing

A technology that was once considered to be on the fringes of digital marketing has moved into the mainstream, as retailers around the country find new ways to use AR in their 2019 holiday campaigns. From virtual try-ons to camera filters designed to drive people into physical store locations, there’s no limit to the number of ways creative marketers can use AR. Enterprising retailers are capitalizing on the momentum as they come up with smarter ways to help shoppers contextually visualize what products will look like on their bodies and in their homes.

Let’s take a look at how five major companies are using AR for holiday marketing this year.

6 Trends to Watch in Holiday Search Marketing

With fewer than two months to go until Christmas, retailers are already kicking their holiday search marketing tactics into high gear. Holiday sales this year are expected to increase roughly 4% over 2018, according to the National Retail Federation, and consumers are expected to be especially price-conscious. How will the retail industry respond to the changing dynamics in search marketing?

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest trends expected to influence holiday search marketing this year, from tactics for extending the local reach of holiday campaigns and how those tactics convert customers at the point of decision to newer products like Local Inventory Ads, which allows marketers to feed store-level inventory into Google search.

In Fitness Industry, Vertical Platforms Cater to Specialized Operations

Online appointment booking platforms are a dime a dozen, used by businesses in a huge range of industries. But among fitness businesses, specifically, general use booking platforms aren’t very common. That’s because fitness businesses are more likely to use vertical-specific tools designed to meet the needs of specialized operations.

Perhaps more so than any other industry, health and wellness has shown a great desire for verticalized technology solutions. Although verticalization isn’t limited to the health and wellness industry, fitness studios and related businesses are much more likely to use technology platforms designed specifically for their industry.

The Vertical Approach to Grocery Marketing

More than just a niche market inside the retail vertical, grocery marketing has grown to become an industry unto itself. According to eMarketer, grocery is the “least penetrated but fastest-growing category” in e-commerce. Explosive growth, fueled in part by the rising popularity of online grocers and on-demand delivery services, like Instacart, that deliver goods from brick-and-mortar stores, is behind the prediction that the grocery retail market will reach $12.24 trillion globally by 2020.

CPG brands and supermarket chains have been quick to adopt vertical-specific marketing platforms and tools. Although there are plenty of local retail marketing solutions that could be adaptable to the grocery industry, the supermarket itself is a unique environment and that makes verticalized solutions even more desirable in this arena.

6 Marketing Automation Solutions for Cannabis Businesses

The cannabis vertical is filled with dispensaries, laboratories, growers, manufacturers, and on-demand delivery services. More broadly speaking, the industry is comprised of plant-touching businesses (growers, processors, dispensaries) and ancillary businesses (delivery apps, payment processors, technology solutions). What businesses in both of these categories rely on is marketing to attract and retain customers, which helps to explain why the number of marketing automation solutions for cannabis businesses is growing so quickly.

Here are six examples of marketing automation platforms aimed at the cannabis industry.

To Meet Consumer Demands, Automotive Marketing Goes Vertical

While customer feedback is coming in from every direction, the automotive industry has done a better job of funneling reviews into vertical-specific platforms than some other industries. Large auto retailers like AutoNation are making major data stack investments, while others are working to improve their online ratings and reviews by engaging more frequently on sites like Facebook and Yelp as well as on automotive-specific platforms like Cars.com and Edmunds.

How Can Brands Capitalize on Google’s Latest Ads Update?

Almost a month has passed since Google officially killed its ‘average position’ metric. The metric was retired on September 30, and marketers using Google Ads have been encouraged to transition to using ‘prominence metrics’—made up of the search top impression rate and search absolute top impression rate—instead. Google’s announcement was designed to give brands the opportunity to update their strategies before the average position metric was axed to hopefully make the transition a seamless process.

To understand how that transition is actually working in the real world, and how brands are adapting to the change from one metric to another, we connected with Walker Sands Digital’s Ryan Sorrell. A digital marketing expert with experience deploying competitive content analysis for B2B clients, Sorrell shared his thoughts on how Google’s decision to axe the average position metric will impact brands going forward and which new opportunities are at play as Google shifts its sights toward automated bidding strategies.

Olo Deal Helps Restaurants Access Traffic From Google’s Platforms

Ninety percent of consumers research restaurants online before dining—more than any other business type—and the vast majority of those web searches start on Google. The search giant plays an important role in the success of restaurant marketing online, making it a desirable partner for any digital platform serving the restaurant industry.

Partnering with Google often means increased search traffic and a strengthened position within the restaurant vertical, which helps to explain the enthusiasm coming from Olo’s recent announcement that it will be working with Google to allow its restaurant partners to receive orders directly from Google Search, Maps, and Google Assistant.

6 Scheduling Platforms for Fitness Studios

One of the most exciting verticals right now is the fitness space, where the number of boutique gyms and studios is on the rise. Scheduling software has become an absolute necessity for fitness studios, giving clients a way to quickly book classes, pay for memberships, and even check in from their smartphones.

Here are six scheduling platforms serving the fitness vertical.

Direct-to-Consumer Brands Are Winning at Personalized Messaging. Here’s Why

According to new research conducted by Braze, a company that specializes in growth marketing automation, direct-to-consumer brands beat non-direct-to-consumer brands with 58.6% higher messaging open rates across channels.

One reason for the higher open rates is because direct-to-consumer brands show greater willingness to use automation and iteration to personalize messages and speak to customers at a point in the journey when it makes sense for them.

7 Loyalty Platforms for Restaurants

One area where restaurants have particularly specific needs is in promoting customer loyalty. Vertical-specific loyalty platforms for restaurants tend to have features and capabilities that more generalized loyalty platforms do not. For example, many loyalty platforms for restaurants are tied to reservation systems, so waiters know customers’ preferences before seating them at their tables.

Although the number of loyalty platforms for restaurants is growing every day, we’ve put together a list of seven important players that anyone who is interested in this space should be following.