Retail Weekly Roundup (23-June-2012)

by Deepak Sharma on Saturday, June 23, 2012

Retailers using pent-up cash; 58% plan to increase capital spending, with IT No. 1 priority

While waiting for the recovery to take the hold, 58% plan to increase capital spending over the next year. The highest priority investment area is information technology – including data analytics and digital marketing channels – cited by 51% of the executives in the KPMG survey. Other significant areas of investment for retailers are new products or services (43%), geographic expansion (33%), and advertising and marketing (24%).

When asked about digital marketing channels, retail executives in the 2012 KPMG retail survey indicate that online shopping (59%), social media platforms (58%), and email campaigns (49%) are having the most significant impact on their businesses. Additionally, executive indicate that the incorporation of mobile technology is also having a significant impact, specifically mobile shopping (36%), mobile promotions (28%), and mobile payments (21%).

Executives also say that the use of data analytics is playing a larger role in their strategic decision making – including areas such as customer insight, brand and product management, pricing decisions and market expansion.

Why Loyalty Programs Can Be Bad for Business

In my work with companies on pricing strategies, it's common for executives to feel compelled to offer loyal customers something for free. My immediate question is: "Why?" Giving something away for free as a gesture of thanks has become almost reflexive in business. But when you examine the strategic value and underlying costs of these programs, I've found that loyalty discounts are rarely necessary to close a deal, nor are they always highly valued by customers.

Why Sephora Is Betting Big on Digital Shopping

Sephora is one of the brands that’s leading the way in shaping digital experiences for its customers. The company recently invested in an entirely new shopping experience that integrates mobile, social and in-store activity. On this episode of Revolution, Julie Bornstein, SVP Digital at Sephora, shares with us the importance of delivering a holistic digital and “IRL” experience, while also enhancing the individual path each customer takes to engage with the brand and their favorite products.

Brazilian fashion retailer displays Facebook ‘likes’ for items in its real-world stores


Through its new “Fashion Like” initiative, C&A has posted photos of a number of the clothing items it sells on a dedicated Facebook page, where it invites customers to “like” the ones that appeal to them. Special hooks on the racks in its bricks-and-mortar store, meanwhile, can then display those votes in real time, giving in-store shoppers a clear indication of each item’s online popularity. The video below (in Portuguese) outlines the premise in more detail:

Home Depot Rolls Out New Mobile Devices for Workers

Home Depot has started to roll out a scaled down, second generation mobile device for its sales associates, allowing more workers to use wireless technology to assist customers, CIO Matt Carey told CIO Journal. The 25,000 device roll-out is intended to make it possible for more store workers to help customers locate items and give information on products, even in areas for which they don’t have specialized expertise. It’s also an example of how Home Depot is attempting to use technology to increase the amount customers spend on each trip to the store, as well as sales to new customers, an area of focus as the chain has slowed the opening of new stores.

The device, called First Phone Junior, is a scaled-down version of the Motorola phone the company put in the hands of some associates two years ago, which allowed employees to better manage inventory, assist customers and speed checkout lines.

Overstored: How Retailers Can Retain a Profitable Physical Store Network in the Face of Growing Migration to Digital Channels

While the long-predicted demise of the bricks-and-mortar store has been greatly exaggerated, there is no doubt that customers are migrating to digital channels in growing numbers. Accenture looks at the issues, and identifies three steps that retailers can take to rethink the way they attract, serve and retain customers, then allocate capital and resources accordingly.

IBM Survey Reveals Marketers Face Tech Dilemma in Reaching the Connected Consumer

IBM's new survey of the marketing industry finds that chief marketing officers (CMO) and chief information officers (CIO) must join forces in order to connect with today's consumer across new channels including mobile devices and social networks. Fully 60 percent of marketers point to their lack of alignment with the company's IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today's consumers.