Blending Online and In-Store: The Boom of BOPIS

BOPIS — buy online, pick up in store — has become a fixture among cutting-edge retailers over the past several years. But this holiday season has made 2019 the breakthrough year for BOPIS. There’s rising demand among consumers for this handy shopping option. And retailers, seeing how the tactic benefits them as well, are stepping up to meet that demand.

Centro Teams with CannaVu to Bring Geo-Targeting to Cannabis and Normalize the Sector

Centro develops enterprise-class software for digital advertising organizations. CannaVu operates an ad exchange for cannabis and CBD marketers. Together, these two companies are working to change the way cannabis brands advertise online and break down the barriers that have slowed industry growth.

Companies Are Struggling to Manage IoT Data. Here’s Why

The devices around us are getting smarter. From the consumer’s perspective, that means refrigerators are sending notifications when the milk is running low, and thermostats are turning down the temperature when there’s no movement in the house. Businesses are relying on the data generated by connected devices to improve algorithms and make their existing products even smarter, but collecting and managing large volumes of data is creating a new set of challenges.

Globally, the IoT market is expected to reach $212 billion by the end of this year. With the worldwide number of IoT-connected devices projected to top 43 billion by 2023, the challenges associated with managing large amounts of data in real-time are growing at a rapid pace.

Apps Dominate Mobile Holiday Shopping

App fatigue, the feeling that a consumer simply cannot add yet another corporate app to her phone at a time when all enterprises seem to be competing for a place on mobile displays, is a major roadblock to successful app-based mobile strategies for retailers. But data from this holiday shopping season suggests that consumers are willing to download apps for the right incentives.

6 Ways Wearable Tech Is Reshaping Retail

Rather than being spooked by these new retail engagement strategies, surveys show most consumers are excited by them. Sixty-seven percent of wearables owners say they find dynamic user experiences that vary based on location “useful and exciting.”

Here are six examples of strategies that retailers can employ to improve the shopping experience using wearable technology.

Report: Reviews for Local Businesses Are Essential. Ratings Below 4 Stars Are Deadly

If it had not already been clear that building up a significant inventory of positive online reviews is key to attracting new customers to a business, let doubt linger no further. 

A whopping 52 percent of consumers ages 18-54 “always” read reviews when searching for local businesses, and only 53 percent will consider a businesses with fewer than four stars, according to survey of 1,005 US-based consumers by marketing platform BrightLocal. Eighty-two percent of consumers overall read online reviews.

Connected Consumers Are More Demanding Than Ever – How Retailers Are Adapting

As the omnichannel approach to retail takes off, industry insiders are beginning to wonder whether giving shoppers what they want, when they want it, across any connected device, is causing consumers to develop unrealistic expectations about the types of experiences and services their favorite stores can provide.

Report: Holiday Shoppers Prioritize Speed in Retail Experience

Among the survey’s most surprising findings is how quickly shoppers are willing to abandon their favorite retailers when those stores don’t have the items they want. Aptos found that 47% of shoppers will start looking elsewhere if their favorite retailer runs out of an item they’re looking for during the so-called Golden Quarter. Additionally, Aptos found that more than half of consumers (60%) say they will abandon their baskets if they find their items for cheaper elsewhere.

How 5 Brands Are Marketing with Smart Home Technology

Because marketing through the connected home is still in its infancy, most brands are in the experimental phase. Even though there are plenty of opportunities for connecting with consumers through smart appliances and devices, brands have to be careful in their approach to avoid overstepping boundaries or coming off as “creepy.” Regardless, the sheer volume of connected products hitting the market ensures that brands have an unprecedented number of new avenues to reach people inside their own homes.

Here are five innovative connected home marketing strategies being pioneered by brands and retail marketers.

Jeff Glueck Passes the Torch as David Shim Steps up to Foursquare CEO

Shim now faces the challenge of steering a fast-growing tech business through uncertain times for data-driven companies. While location tech is a lucrative business that provides crucial insights for brick-and-mortar companies and has yet to hit peak productivity, the industry is also facing concerns of an unprecedented scale about how much it knows about the people who power its insights.

TripAdvisor Buys Listings, Menu Management Company SinglePlatform

As SinglePlatform’s name suggests, the acquisition is a sign of changing and challenging times for search-related internet businesses. Facing pressure from a Google juggernaut that is increasingly mapping out any imaginable search experience on its own properties, digital services that connect consumers with restaurants or places to visit when traveling are consolidating, aiming to offer holistic information that keeps searchers coming back.

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.

Retailers Hoping for Record Cyber Monday to Follow Friday Windfall

US retailers set all-time records on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, wracking up $11.6 billion in online sales. Adobe predicts that Cyber Monday will also set a fresh record of $9.4 billion, pushing the Thanksgiving weekend total to nearly $30 billion.

The increasing importance of online sales has forced traditional retailers to compete with e-commerce natives like Amazon not only by offering their own robust set of deals but also by investing in delivery infrastructure and reducing friction for consumers ordering online. 

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.

The Risks and Outsize Rewards of Political Branding

In a time of unprecedented political partisanship, the risks and rewards of corporate political messaging are amplified. Viral marketing strategies including Nike’s partnership with racial justice activist and football star Colin Kaepernick, Gillette’s toxic masculinity ad, and Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ stances rally political sympathizers to a brand’s side and alienate ideological foes.

Street Fight checked in with Jen Capstraw, director of strategic insights and evangelism at growth marketing company Iterable, to get a sense of how significant the benefits and drawbacks of political branding are, which ideological direction political ads are predominantly taking, and how strong the evidence is for the efficacy of partisan messaging.

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.

95% of Consumers Plan on Buying Most Holiday Gifts Online

While brick-and-mortar sales remain a robust part of the holiday shopping experience, online shopping is asserting clearer dominance than ever before this year. A walloping 95% of consumers plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping this season online, according to multi-channel engagement platform Leanplum.