Monthly Archives: September 2012

Technology Boosting Coupon Use

The economy remains a challenge for many consumers and they are looking for savings wherever they can. Consumers are also looking convenient methods of attaining those savings. Many consumers are relying on coupons and technology has added to the traditional ways that shoppers find the savings they need.

• Nearly 80% of consumers are using circulars more to plan shopping

• 79% are utilizing printed coupons more than in the past

• Almost eight in 10 shoppers reported using more digital coupons than before

• Over 80% are getting more coupons online

• Consumers using these methods reported saving up to $50 in weekly savings

What Does This Mean To You?

It’s not just consumers who are benefiting from coupons, businesses are too.  Coupons and offers don’t just help you drive traffic to your locations; they also can help you create repeat business and a mine-able database through loyalty programs.
Another benefit from coupons is that they can provide a competitive advantage between you and other businesses as well as increasing your top of mind awareness.  Coupons help your organization stay relevant with consumers when they are looking for reasons to cut back.  For more information on drawing more shoppers to your business, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: RedPlum


Social Integration and Small Business

A couple of months ago, we had a post on why consumers use social media.
The main reason they utilized social networks was to connect with others –
friends, family, coworkers or people they lost touch with.
As a business, social media can help you better connect with more than just customers – it can help you create deeper relationships with your vendors & suppliers, your employees and other businesses that you are engaged with.  Social media is also a tool that can also help you connect the various aspects of your business. But a recent report shows that many small and medium businesses are not integrating social media into these parts of their business.

• Currently, less than 40% of small and medium businesses integrate social media capabilities into their company website – over the next year, another 35% plan to

• Just over one in five integrate social media into their marketing campaigns
and 36% expect to do this in the next
12 months

• 20% of SMBs are using social media in their customer service and
sales processes

• Just 13% are utilizing social media in their customer contact or customer relationship procedures

• Currently, fewer than 15% of small companies have integrated social media into their mobile web sites and over 40% have no plans at to

• Only 12% of companies are using social media for product development information

What Does This Mean To You?

Social media is not going away.  Nationwide, over half of adults have gone to a social media site in the past month.  Valuable target audience such as moms and professionals are even more likely to be social networkers.  There are indications that social media fans are also your loyal customers. Building social media into you company’s business strategy will help you in many ways.  Not integrating means that you are missing out on opportunities to connect with more customers, develop loyalty, improve engagement and create the goods and services your customers want.

Why is social media important to your customer service efforts?
Social networks have become the portal for which many consumers connect with companies. They not only want but expect that you respond to feedback and answer their questions.

How does social media directly impact my sales?
Social commerce is one of the newest trends to emerge. Social media could supply your business with a whole new revenue stream


What does social networking have to do with mobile?
Social networking is rapidly becoming a mobile function. Many social networks, such as Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare and Instagram are mobile-first or mobile only applications.  In the past month over 20% of consumers nationally accessed a social network via mobile device.

How does social networking play into my loyalty programs?
When a social networker “likes” or follows a brand it’s a great indication of whether they are a loyal customerSocial entities can help you increase sales and have these loyal customers become brand evangelists for your business.

How can social media help me with product development?
Customers like for their voices to be heard.  If you’ve got an idea on something you want to do or a product you may want to introduce, who better to ask than your loyal customers.  Remember, the information may not be scientifically accurate or statistically valid – but you will at least hear what they have to say.  Polls and questions are also great forms of engagement.

Social media can help your business in a number of different ways.  It starts by simply adding social links or icons to your current marketing efforts.  This will at least let them know you have a social presence. The more you integrate and optimize your social capabilities, the bigger the benefit can be.  For more information on how to grow your business with social media, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: eMarketer; SMB Group; The 2012 Scarborough Multi-Market Report, Release 1

Influencing Purchasing Decisions

We’ve all been there before. We’re in a store trying to choose between two items.
What is the tipping point?
What are the factors that give one product the edge over the other?
(Beyond the eannie, meannie, minny, moe method)
A new study looks at what things go into the decision process for grocery shoppers among moms & dads.  While this research is based on food shopping activities, the logic is transferable to other shopping behavior.

What Influences purchases outside of price or quality for moms & dads:

• 37% of dads and 44% of moms say a coupon
would be the biggest influence in choosing one
item over another

• One in five dads and one in six moms said product benefits would be a determining factor

• 12% of moms and 14% of dads say the brand name sways them in choosing a product

• 10% of moms and dads cited in-store promotions and the ability to get a free sample as things that weigh into purchasing one product over another

• Less than 5% of moms and dads said that environment or social benefits would weigh into their decision

What Does This Mean To You?

Knowing what the reasoning is behind consumer choices can not only help you sell more goods and services, it can boost you over the competition.  The study above points out several things particular to grocery shopping, but the basic principles are applicable to most businesses.

The Offer – Whether you are promoting a particular item, or your own business, an offer is a great way to set yourself – or your products – apart and drive traffic.  For many consumers, the economy is still a challenge and they are looking to save money any where they can.  The offer does not always have to be a straight discount.  Think about rewarding customers for purchasing or spending more money.

Benefits – People make purchases because they see value in a product or service.  It solves their problems, saves them time or saves them money.  By promoting the benefits you or a product delivers, you and your products move from being something has to be bought to a solution for a problem.

Brand Name/Reputation – For some purchases, a brand name has a larger influence than others.  In many cases, a brand name is a representation of reputation.  If you have a great reputation, promote it.  A respected name in the community can have an effect on whether people patronize you or the competition.  You can also increase you reputation by marketing respected products.  You may also be able to increase your marketing efforts through the use of co-op advertising.

Awareness – If a tree falls in the woods…  If you don’t tell consumers about your business and the goods & services you offer – how are they going to find out?  Your competition is not likely to tell them.
The same goes for the products you carry.  Consumers may know about these items, but do they know that you sell them?

There are many factors that go into why consumers make the choices they do.  Some of them you can influences, others you can’t.  To be successful, you want to make it as easy to find, contact, shop and purchase items from your business as possible.  For more information on gaining a competitive advantage and creating traffic, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: Cone Communications

Moms, Dads And Grocery Shopping Habits

Going to the grocery store is a weekly chore that has traditionally been one of the many things that moms have done.  But new research has recently been released that shows dads are becoming a more involved in family food shopping.  And, like most other things, moms and dads have different techniques when it comes to buying the families groceries.

• More than 80% of moms say they are the primary grocery shopper in the family.  But, over half of dads said they now have assumed primary food shopping responsibilities

• Over half of dads plan meals for the week ahead of time, 46% of moms do the same

• Nearly a quarter of dads research grocery purchases before purchasing, 11% of moms investigate food products before buying

• Roughly one in three dads say when they shop they get in and get out as quick as possible, just 20% of moms shop with that amount of urgency

• Almost one in five dads say they can grocery shop in less than a half hour, less than 10% of moms say the can finish food shopping in less than a half hour

What Does This Mean To You?

Men are becoming a bigger part of many family purchase activities.
53% of men say they have a bigger influence on grocery items now than in the past few years.
When marketing items to families, don’t forget about dad.  Women are still the primary shoppers and control the majority of the spending, but dads are gaining influence.
Dads are more likely than moms to value convenience.  While choosy moms might choose a particular brand of peanut butter, dads are more likely to grab whatever they can to finish shopping before kickoff.  The shopping that moms and dads are doing is probably much different.  Dads may be sent to the store for a targeted list of items, moms are more likely to handle the larger, more general weekly grocery trip.  For more information on engaging families and influencing the male audience, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: Cone Communications

The Countdown Has Started

The last thing I ever want to do is scare people, but this  at the very least may shock you.

Christmas is now 90 days away

It may seem like it’s still summer but Black Friday is less than 2 months from now.  The kids just went back to school and in many parts of the country, it’s still relatively warm.
But take a look at the calendar – we are 90 days from the big day.
The first of many holiday spending reports has been released and they show
that ecommerce will still be a major factor in the ways consumers spend during the holidays.

• Retail ecommerce spending during the holiday season is expected to reach nearly $54.5 billion dollars

• Year over year, holiday ecommerce is projected to increase nearly 17%

• In 2012, holiday season spending is expected to make up nearly 25% of the total ecommerce spending

• While holiday season ecommerce is expected to jump almost 17%, total ecommerce for the entire year is expected to increase by 15%

What Does This Mean To You?

Whether we like it or not, it’s never to early to plan how your organization is going to handle the holidays.  From staffing to marketing, the holidays can be challenging but there are many digital opportunities that can ease holiday frustrations.
Last year, mobile had a huge effect on consumer activity and there is no doubt that this year it’s impact will be even bigger. Social media has also changed the way consumers find what to buy and where to find it – that will probably not change as well.  This year, geo-location activities and SMS/text could increase in importance with shoppers.  Many businesses are looking at how “showrooming” will affect them and how loyalty programs may be a solution.
We will be regularly posting on the latest research to come out regarding holiday shopping trends and consumer activity.
You should take this opportunity to prepare your staff for the holidays.
Have you planned for employee vacations and any staffing issues?
Have you updated your staff contact list to include cell phone, email, Facebook and Twitter contact information?
Are you planning to have any staff training sessions on your mobile and web capabilities?
Have you thought about developing a company holiday blog or Facebook page to keep your employees up to date your back-end holiday plans?

Lots of companies, especially small and medium sized ones, put all their effort into the marketing aspect of the holidays, but don’t plan for their organizational needs.  The best way to make sure you have a successful holiday season is to plan ahead for all aspects of your business.  For more information on how to make this holiday season your most profitable, please contact your Orlando Sentinel Media Group representative or:
Al Fiala
Advertising Research Manager

Source: eMarketer

Social Small Business

Social media can help any business increase their awareness and develop a loyal customer base. For small businesses it can be a particularly powerful tool.  Social media can help small businesses compete with larger organizations and efficiently connect with customers.  A recent study has come out that looks at how small businesses are using social and the solutions they employ. Indications are that small businesses are not taking advantages of the opportunities available with social media.  Well over half of small businesses currently do not use social media to engage with their customers – over 30% do not plan on getting involved in social media in the next year.

Among small businesses utilizing social media:

• Just over a quarter have a Facebook page. 20% actively engage and post through relevant Facebook groups

• 15% participate in industry specific online communities or industry specific social media communities

• 14% take part in relevant LinkedIn forums and discussions or post comments on related blogs

• 12% are engaged with Twitter and nearly one in 10 post company videos to YouTube

• 9% have company branded blogs or and involved in user review sites

• 5% utilize group coupon services like Groupon or use social bookmarking sites like Digg

• Less than 5% work with geo-location services like Foursquare

What Does This Mean To You?

For companies’ not using social media – you are missing a golden opportunity to actively engage customers and leverage your standing in the community. Social media is partly about you promoting what you offer and what sets you apart. But it’s biggest benefit comes from your customers endorsing the benefits of doing business with you and telling their friends why you are their choice for shopping.  If you are currently doing social media – what does your social media strategy look like?
Just having a Facebook page does not equal social media marketing.
How are you dealing with negative comments?
Do you reward positive commenters?
What are you doing to promote social sharing?
What do you post?
How often do you post?
Is mobile part of your social strategy?
The social media landscape shifts very quickly. Those shifts in functionality, usage patterns and demographics can have a big affect on how well social media performs for your business.  For more information on how to maximize results from social media, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: eMarketer, SMB Group

Moving Towards The Mobile Wallet

Does it seem that less people are paying for goods and services with cash? Use of paper checks also seems to be on the decline (but, they always seem to be in front of me in the grocery checkout line). It wasn’t that long ago that consumers weren’t that sure of making e-payments and electronic banking, but the mobile revolution looks to make payment by smart phone or tablet a sooner, rather than later, reality.

• Over half of US consumers have a smart phone. By 2016, nearly 200 million adults nationwide will have a mobile device.  Over 70% will own smart phones and 40% will
have tablets

• Over 40% of current mobile device owners say they would
be interested in using a
mobile wallet

• 30% of consumers said they used their mobile phone to make a purchase

• Last year, mobile payments totaled over $360 million, less than .01% were from point of sale.  By 2015, mobile payments are expected to hit nearly $750 million, but point of sale is still expected to represent just .02%

What Does This Mean To You?

Mobile technology has become important to consumers because of the convenience it offers.  That is what will drive the mobile wallet – not having to reach for your credit or debit cards, or even worse hold up other shoppers by writing a check. While the point of purchase aspect of mobile payments is going to take a while for adoption to take hold, the real opportunity lies in contact-less payment forms such as QR codes.

• Nearly 20% of smart phone owners say they have made some form of contact-less payment and other 20% are interested in the technology

• Over half of iPhone owners and more than 40% of Android phone owners say they have scanned a QR code in the past year

• 12% of iPhone owners and 14% of Android owners say they are interested in scanning activities in the future

Contact-less payment can help you increase your value to consumers by making it more convenient to shop physical or virtual stores than your competitors.  Many consumers have not made an in-store purchase because of long lines at check out.  Imagine if consumers could scan a code located in the store, skip the checkout and then pick-up the item at customer service or have it shipped to them.  Placing QR payment codes in your advertising messages turns a simple print ad into a powerful point of purchase tool.  Imagine how easy you could make holiday shopping for customers by placing payment QR codes in you Black Friday ads.  For more information on how your business can optimize and maximize mobile commerce, please contact:
Al Fiala

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily; Javelin