Shopping: the Cure for the Summertime Blues

Whether you’re prepping for summer vacation or back-to-school, now is the time to save big 

Mass retailers like Kohl’s, Macy’s and Target are looking to move summer merchandise fast to make way for their fall offerings.  In addition to slashing prices, retailers across the country are attracting customers out of the heat and into their cool, air-conditioned stores with front-door marketing.  So what are your customers waiting for? Help them decide that it’s time to pick up that super cute bathing suit they wanted back in April, not only at a sale price but perhaps at an even deeper discount in the form of an attention-grabbing coupon right on their doorknob.  

With a high-value retail offer waiting at the front door, brands have the opportunity to get the attention of parents who are busy juggling summer activities and priorities.  And while more families are taking ‘staycations’ to save on gas and lodging, that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t trying to beat the heat in the latest summer fashions and accessories. With a big need for shorts and tank tops but little room for big splurge, consumers are looking to brands that appreciate and respect their position.  Retailers must in turn attract consumer dollars more creatively and at every strategic opportunity.

Front-door marketing can be executed quickly and easily to drive response with a compelling offer that gets consumers to act.  With a start to finish timeframe of as little as two weeks, retailers can have their branded message delivered to the front door of some of their best and most promising customers.               

What are you doing to get shoppers into your store during the lazy days of summer?

Effective Front-Door Marketing Can Meet a Variety of Goals – Quickly

Working with an Experienced Partner Sets the Foundation for Success

Handled with skill and technology, today’s front-door marketing campaigns are able to generate results faster than most other media. In fact, with a highly-efficient distribution system in place, speed-to-market can be maximized with campaigns frequently executed in a 10-14 day timeframe.  Now that’s a fast track to results, which can be tied to a range of client metrics or priorities.

Consumers redeem front-door media offers in-store, and coupon redemption is tracked to evaluate campaign results.

There are a number of ways to measure success and it’s important to determine those criteria up front.  Frequently, the ultimate goal is redemption of a promotional offer, however front-door marketing can and does serve a variety of purposes.  It can be used to generate traffic, provide loyalty incentives, increase awareness or reinforce branding efforts; it is an ideal component to an acquisition, retention or ‘re-activation’ program. 

The medium also works well to reinforce a position when a company is expanding or finds itself going head to head with the competition.  New product launches and trial programs can be targeted with pinpoint accuracy, getting information and product into the hands of those most likely to respond. Response-driven mechanisms like coupons, toll-free numbers and drive-to-web incentives are popular and effective – made even stronger by working with a skilled, trusted front-door marketing partner.

Meeting marketing goals effectively – while communicating a strong sense of brand – is a top mandate for national and regional businesses, and is well-supported by delivering a high-quality message of value to a very precise target.  Are you defining metrics and moving quickly to engage your best prospects? Are you teaming up with an experienced and knowledgeable front-door marketing partner that knows the ins-and-outs of deploying a successful campaign?

Retailers Ride Holiday Growth Wave into 2011

Retail momentum continues, as consumers’ desire for discounts is fueling promotions and shopper incentives

Retailers were generally pleased with the 2010 holiday season, seeing 5.7 percent growth over 2009 and handily beating initial projections by the National Retail Federation.  In fact, the NRF further says that January marks seven straight months of retail gains, demonstrating that many consumers are ready to spend after a long and difficult economic slump. It’s a winning situation for consumers – retailers are anxious to maximize this upswing and are upping their game with continued promotions and discounts. 

Good news for shoppers who have come to expect some level of competition for their spending power. Their expectation of value is rock solid and increasing the pressure on retailers to deliver.  For retailers it is a bit trickier though, and marketing efforts must break through the barrage of promotional activity to really get the consumers’ attention as they travel the path to purchase. Shoppers have become savvier about sifting through their options – comparing prices and demanding value as they prioritize their spendable income.

In turn, marketers are layering additional tactics onto established and successful retail marketing strategies.  Capitalizing on what they already do well – such as developing incentives that demonstrate real customer understanding – marketers are raising the bar by adding underused channels such as front door marketing into the mix.  Bypassing a crowded field of messages, retail marketers are in some cases exceeding a 20 percent response rate.

Are your retail marketing initiatives generating the results you need, especially as Americans seem to be stepping out of their years-long spending slump? And if not, what are you doing to expand on your campaign strategies?

Good Marketing Always Finds a Reason to Celebrate

Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, St. Patrick’s Day – You Name it; Retailers Have Been Using ‘Holidays’ to Drive Customer Traffic for Decades

Ah, love is in the air.  Just look around. On TV, in newspapers, magazines and online – who needs a calendar to be reminded of Valentine’s Day when the good folks at Hallmark, Teleflora and Godiva are pulling out all the stops to ‘nudge’ you into buying or doing something nice for your sweetie.

According to a recent study commissioned by the National Retail Federation, the average person will spend $116.21 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise this year, up 12.8 percent over last year’s $103.00. Couples this year will spend an average of $68.98 on their significant other or spouse.  And total holiday spending is expected to reach $15.7 billion.

For years marketers have been relying on this and fringier holidays to boost sales. (Presidents’ Day is the perfect time to buy a mattress, right?). No matter how silly some of the sales connected to the various holidays seem, they do represent yet another opportunity for retail marketers to connect with consumers who are more willing to spend as the economy strengthens.

By adding alternative channels to the mix, marketers can extend these ‘holiday’ sales efforts and expand their reach beyond the ordinary. The new twist on front door marketing combines the same scientific data used in traditional direct marketing channels with unique special offers to deliver the right branded message to the right door. Yet another layer to an aggressive marketing strategy designed to get customers into the store.

Are you taking advantage of all the right effective channels to drive retail traffic?

2010 Holiday Retail Sales End the Year with a Bang

What comes next?

It was a happy New Year, indeed, for U.S. retailers. After a stagnant 2009 holiday season, there was a great deal to celebrate. The latest report from MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse™ shows a much better than expected holiday season for retailers with overall season-over-season growth of 5.5 percent.  Wonderful news for an industry that was holding its breath.

As retailers and shoppers recuperate from the frenzy, a little lull is to be expected. But savvy marketers are looking for innovative ways to get consumers back into stores. Post-Christmas clearance sales combined with gift returns and gift cards received are solid motivation for return traffic. In fact, with total holiday gift card spending estimated at $24.78 billion, there’s money burning a hole in the pockets of millions of Americans, and opportunities abound for retailers to increase sales beyond that initial gift card amount.

While TV and newspaper ads are logical channels to promote post-holiday deals, consumers are simply tired of the onslaught. To reach them where they live with offers they can’t resist, front door marketing can seal the deal. The tactic has been around for awhile but has recently been elevated to a science and a viable subcategory of the direct response discipline.  Previously considered less strategic, almost “untargeted” for a broad audience, today’s front door is ripe for the same precision targeting used in other marketing methods. Data research, analysis and application have significantly increased effectiveness, dramatically shifting industry perceptions of the channel. By using high-level data, major brands are placing the most relevant offer directly with the right customer to deliver a tangible competitive advantage. This decidedly updated and strategic approach bypasses a crowded field of messages and motivates consumers to respond. 

In the aftermath of a stellar holiday shopping season, what are you doing to get shoppers back to your store?

A Great Holiday Season for Retail Sales but What Comes Next?

As Shopper Attention Shifts, Retailers Put Finishing Touches on Post-Holiday Deals to Entice Consumers

In the final week leading up to Christmas, retailers are still reaping the rewards of a busier-than-usual holiday season with consumers checking those last few items off their gift-buying lists. In fact, earlier this week the National Retail Federation revised its holiday forecast, now projecting a 3.3 percent increase over last year’s figures. And while sales generally slow significantly after Christmas, retailers recognize some of the very unique opportunities post-holiday promotions can bring. 

The closer it gets to Christmas the more likely it is that people are trying to steer clear of the malls. But there’s something about December 26th that makes them more than willing to venture out again. After all the fun and stress leading up to the big day, shoppers are traditionally ready to think about an entirely different set of priorities. Diet, exercise and general ‘recovery’ from holiday indulgences commonly top the list, often paired with feeling like “it’s time to treat myself.”  Perhaps that perfect gift wasn’t under the tree, but several not-so-great presents could be returned and put toward what was really on the wish list.  Retailers rely on after-Christmas sales, gift cards and gift returns to keep shoppers strolling through their doors, and need to make the most of this post-holiday shopping period.

To rise above the hustle and bustle of holiday ads and messages, retailers may choose to take a more personal approach to attract post-holiday shoppers and clear out merchandise. Campaigns using channels like front door marketing can be executed quickly and easily, driving response with a compelling offer that gets consumers to act.  With a start to finish timeframe of as little as two weeks, retailers can have their branded message delivered to the front door of some of their best and most promising customers.                                                                         

What are you doing to get shoppers back into your store after the holiday splurge?

Retailers are Getting Their Piece of the Holiday Pie with Deep Discounts

Black Friday Encourages Retailers to Keep Those Deals Coming

Disappointing retail results for the past several holiday seasons have led to sales and specials that go well beyond the hype that is ‘Black Friday.’ The lines have definitely been blurred with prices slashed throughout the months leading up to Christmas.  This aggressive effort seems to be paying off this year with retail traffic up significantly. 

In fact, recent survey results from the National Retail Federation show that 212 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the four day-long Black Friday weekend, up from 195 million last year. In addition, people spent more, with the average shopper shelling out $365.34, up from last year’s $343.31. And total weekend spending reached an estimated $45.0 billion.  These figures don’t even take into account the 37.2 percent of Americans who planned to begin holiday shopping before Halloween.

To get the attention of today’s consumer, retailers are taking advantage of the myriad channels available to them.  Print, online, television, direct mail – ads are coming at us from every direction.  It’s all good but it can get confusing and many times it’s in one ear, out the other. One under-utilized marketing channel is rising above the noise though, demonstrating significant success for major brands across the country.  These retailers have committed to reaching the right customers with ‘too good to miss’ offers delivered right to the front door. 

The front door is an ideal meeting place – uncluttered, highly visible and primed for action. And today’s front door marketing brings value to a precisely defined audience, with measurable results enabled by technology-based processes.  Certainly, the right message combined with a compelling offer receives more consideration in the comfort of the home where consumers are relaxed, more responsive and making their shopping plans.  It’s a channel that’s working for major retailers around the country. Are you doing all you can to reach your customers to drive holiday traffic with special discounts meant just for them?

For Retailers, Black Friday is Not a Shopping Day but a Shopping Season

Over the past several holiday seasons retailers may have rung in less-than impressive sales but this year they are determined to turn things around.  In fact, the National Retail Federation projects that 138 million shoppers are expected to hit stores Black Friday weekend, representing an increase over 2009 estimates. Further, retailers are making the most of this as a ‘shopping event,’ asking themselves why just a single day of Black Friday deals, when a full season of ‘Black November’ offers may be just what this economy needs…

With most consumers still feeling the crunch of the recent economic downturn, many of us really are eager for a bargain, or two, or many, many more.  People are using credit less, paying cash and looking for discounts wherever possible; many retailers are smart to up the ante with earlier sales and many more deals that are expected to extend right up to Christmas day.  This elongated shopping cycle gives consumers the means to make responsible purchases, with the added bonus of boosting retail profits for Q4.  

Some marketers have initially reasoned that this could dilute the power of the day itself; others see it an opportunity to capitalize on shoppers’ ability to making decisions, shopping lists and even purchases in a much more relaxed, comfortable atmosphere than a single frantic Friday or long pre-holiday weekend.  NRF stats from last year prove that 40 percent of shoppers started holiday shopping before Halloween, much less November.  The trick for retailers is to capture a shopper’s attention early in their holiday gift planning phase, and capitalize on their extended decision-making process.

Front door marketing strategies are uniquely applicable in this environment, delivering a highly targeted brand offer in the uncluttered, private environment of the front door. Brands are reaching their best customers early on the path to purchase and making the most of their ability to evaluate and respond to competitive brand offers.  Offers made here are typically very high-value, with brands recognizing this as a requirement to be invited into a consumer’s home.

If Black Friday is now Black November, don’t you want your best – and perhaps most elusive – customers to have the chance to see, touch and share your offer around the house before the big shopping day arrives?

PDM at 2010 Hispanic Retail 360 Summit

A little bit of late news, but PDM is currently attending the Hispanic Retail 360 Summit, which started yesterday and goes until tomorrow. If you’re in lovely San Diego, visit us at Booth #9 in the Hyatt Regency La Jolla.

This year’s conference theme is “Branding to the Trillion Dollar U.S. Latino Market”, and speakers on the list include General Mills, BestBuy.com, 7-Eleven, and one of PowerDirect’s own.

Check out this article from Peter Francese on AdAge.com that details the breakdown of the US Hispanic market, and what we can expect from this growing demographic segment.

Some stunning facts:

  • The 2010 Census expects almost a 47% growth in the Hispanic population (in contrast, the non-Hispanic population has only grown 5%)
  • 1 of every 3 Hispanics in the US is under the age of 18
  • Almost 44% of the demographics is at ease in English
  • 75% of adult Hispanics are between the ages 18-49
  • The eight states with the most Hispanics are home to 76% of all U.S. Hispanics

Also, to get a general overview of the Hispanic market, download this whitepaper titled “Hispanic Market Overview 2010“, courtesy of HispanicAd.com. Of particular interest is the Top 20 Hispanic DMAs (Designated Market Areas), with Los Angeles, CA ranking first.