This Week in Retail Marketing Innovation - Jan 29 2018
NRF is now behind us, and we learned a lot from attending and presenting at retail’s big show. Everyone is furiously reinventing retail, and you may have seen some big announcements from PERCH, such as the launch of our Shelf Touch Technology, being named a Top 20 Retail Solution Provider by CIO Review, and our CEO Trevor Sumner was on Cheddar talking about the future of retail.
We couldn’t be more excited about 2018, which seems to have an overall renewed sense of optimism, including in the retail industry. Enjoy our roundup of retail marketing innovation.
Positive Retail Industry Results Continue to Pour In
Want to read the definitive state of the retail industry? Few sources are better than this exhaustive analysis by Fung Global that has the authors asking, “What Retail Apocalypse?”
Even Macy’s which has reported 12 declining quarters is now showing signs of growth and promise and struggling Abercrombie and Fitch is reporting high single-digit growth.
There are so many positive signs with consumer confidence riding near November highs and the economy growing a solid 2.6% rate in Q4.
But it’s not all good news. Toys R’ Us continues to be in deep trouble, closing 180 stores in the US. And you know their Q4 results have to be really bad if they are not releasing their holidays sales numbers. They simple missed the tremendous opportunity to turn a toy store into an experiential fantasy land for kids. But they are investing in AR, so maybe it’s not too late. There is still a giant hole in the industry here.
And of course store closure numbers continue to be a concern although drops in retail occupancy are “marginal” holding at 95%.
The Grocery Industry Is On Fire
The grocery industry is a critical stronghold for retail customer acquisition because of the frequency of purchase. Own that customer relationship and you can spread to less frequent purchases. Given the strategic value, the amount of activity we are seeing all at once is not surprising. Aldi's announced it is expanding its US footprint from 1600 to 2,500 stores in the next 2 years. That's massive. Download this RIS White Paper for a solid deep grocery industry dive.
Amazon, who made industry waves with it’s acquisition of Whole Foods, opened up it’s Amazon Go store to much fanfare. The feedback was mostly positive, although some pointed out the irony of waiting in long lines for a store who’s whole premise is not to wait in checkout lines. Meanwhile, reports are citing Whole Foods is having problems keeping shelves in stock based on a new inventory optimization program. Will Amazon help fix the problem with bigger investments in AI? And Amazon is raising Prime Membership by $2, which sounds small, but adds up to an additional $300 million - and that's mostly profit. Wow.
Meanwhile Walmart engaged in a strategic alliance with Rakuten focused on books and grocery, deepening its investment in grocery where it has a 14% US share.
And rumors are swirling that Kohl’s might make an acquisition in grocery as well.
Sounding Brilliant By The Water Cooler
- Retailers are getting smarter about retail technology investment, avoiding pie in the sky visions, and getting back to basics that drive results now.
- Starboard unveiled the future of interactive cruise line retail (and it’s powered by PERCH)
- A grocery robot was fired after a week for making customers uneasy. Are we ready for the physical implementation of digital services and AI or prefer for it to be hidden beyond voice apps, demonstrated by a vast predicted switch to voice search. Retailers continue to make deep investments while Google outlines the future of conversational commerce
- Is shoppable video an industry boon or just a promise that we’ve heard every year since 2007 and remains unfulfilled a decade later?
- Retail mergers and acquisitions are up 109% YoY. Expect the torrid pace to continue with so many vulnerable companies and big companies vying for position.
- Will Facebook’s new algorithm change mean a boon for the influencer marketing industry? Sephora is making big bets that influencers will matter more over time.