Innovative Strategies Taking Shape at Retail

That’s where I’ve been lately. Exploring the kinds of innovation that works for Shopper Marketing. I’ve been inspired by retailer acceleration of integrated engagement with the shoppers.

Last week Gap pulled off a classic “Price Line Negotiator” model with a private price offer conversation platform that gives the shopper control to counter offer! Shoppers could bid back on a price counter offer for certain khaki pants. They’re fishing for value price points and they’ve changed their shopper target to a much younger shopper. They need all the insights they can get right now.

Communicating it’s new EDLP strategy to shoppers, an early March circular page on meal solutions had not one price point. And no smiley faces either…..as they are under pressure to change the direction for the quarter or get dissed again by the industry. But at least they’re doing something. I applaud their efforts in Japan. Walmart had no senior execs in Japan when the earthquake stuck, it struck before they landed on the way back from the Orlando Management Meeting.

These programs are the output of innovation in action, igniting new opportunities in shopper engagement. Retailers are testing new models, listening to shoppers and applying insights in a proactive way. The pricing strategy is an example of how retailers are moving quickly to gain control of the shopper relationship. Mobile strategies are taking shape as well, with many retailers building secure in store networks to have full content control vs. their suppliers.

What about Walgreens acquiring drugstore.com? I posted on that this morning. They could gain a shopper insights advantage by using the new customer data for mining insights. If I were Walgreens insight team, I’d be prioritizing the opportunity for 3 million new conversations with customers. They could easily take the pricing conversation private and perhaps get significant learning on the pricing scenario they are faced with.

My last post was about the Lowe’s offer on Facebook early last Saturday morning to promote a two-day Spring Black Friday site-to-store offer on garden soil, mulch and Round-Up. Lowe’s has made huge strides in putting relevant offers on Facebook and does a great job on Twitter too.  They’ve recently launched Team 48 and Jimmy Johnson on Twitter, they’re gaining followers very fast as the NASCAR season ramps up.

Retailers are finding ways to innovate with shoppers all over the landscape. Even my friend Sally is having success with Facebook announcing “sip and shop” girls night out events for her consignment furniture and home decor store in Berkley, Michigan.

Its time for manufacturers to join them and start testing in all of these areas. Retail partners in many industries need manufacturer support and collaboration. It’s way more innovative to test and learn and “act” instead of letting your insights remain in the strategic stage for too long.

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