Webinar: eBay, Button & Shopkick on the power of mobile commerce

Mobile commerce is skyrocketing. Shoppers are gravitating toward the rapidly growing channel through all stages of the journey, and are expecting relevant and personal experiences.

We’re teaming up with eBay and Button to share first party data to help retailers and brands identify where to focus their attention to reach today’s consumer. Join us for insights on mobile — today’s fastest growing channel, and a map for success in our omnichannel shopping environment.

Just some of the topics we’ll cover include:

  • Mobile matters: why apps are leading the charge, where the industry is headed, and what actually converts among consumers on mobile
  • Real-time is key: tracking and reacting to shopper behavior across environments, stores and platforms is critical
  • The importance of partnerships in understanding and responding to today’s fragmented shopping experience
  • A case study on how eBay, Button and Shopkick uncovered a new audience and drove incremental mCommerce sales

When: March 8, 11am PT / 2pm ET

Reserve your spot now

Retail as marketing: redefining the retail experience

by Kristy Stromberg, CMO

Originally posted in Forbes as part of the Forbes Communications Council

In the pre-digital era, the relationship between brick-and-mortar retail stores and their customers was largely transactional— places to fulfill supply and demand. Yet as online commerce continues to grow exponentially, the role of the retail store is shifting from purely pragmatic to more experiential. Moving forward, the key to survival for retail stores may rely on their ability to act as a living showcase for products and brands.

Take Coach, for instance, which has made some radical yet effective changes in its approach. Last year, the company pulled its line of handbags and accessories out of 25% of its North American department store locations — choosing instead to focus energies on its own stores. Chief among those stores is the new Coach flagship location in New York, which elevates the ordinary shopping experience with special touches like a monogramming station (replete with emojis), a 12-foot dinosaur fashioned out of Coach leather pieces, and Made to Order Rogue (which gives shoppers the ability to create a bespoke Rogue bag).

Tesla and Nike are also among the companies leading the charge to create new associations with the traditional retail experience. For luxury car manufacturer Tesla, the dealership concept has made way for direct-to-consumer stores and galleries. Sleek interactive displays and on-site demos educate shoppers about the brand’s electric vehicles, while design studios enable would-be Tesla owners to configure their desired model (which they can then share on social media). As Automotive News put it, “The idea is less to sell a product on the spot than to let shoppers spend time with the brand.” It seems to be working: Reservations for Tesla’s Model 3 are reported at around 400,000.

As for Nike, its new concept store in Soho adopts an omnichannel-style approach to marry the company’s virtual and physical offerings. The goal? To offer dynamic tools for personalized performance. Among the in-store features: an instant personalization studio with laser engraving and custom printing capabilities and a fitting room with digital checkout and adaptive lighting (to mimic the feel of a yoga studio or evening run). Numerous “trial zones” offer inviting spaces for shoppers to test shoes, whether on a synthetic turf soccer field or on a basketball half court. For instance, the Nike+ Running Trial Zone transforms the treadmill into a 90-second run in Central Park or the West Side Highway via digital screen (fueled by real-time performance feedback).

The Shifting Role Of Stores

This new breed of experiential retail signals the movement toward stores as vehicles for marketing rather than just straightforward sales. Though e-commerce provides instant gratification through savvy search engines and easy one-click buying, there is still no replacement for the sensory touchpoint provided by a brick-and-mortar location where customers can touch, feel and evaluate the product in person. Retailers that recognize this distinction will certainly have an edge in the rapidly changing marketplace, in which the number of distressed retailers has tripled since the Great Recession, according to Moody’s Investor Service.

The proof? Highly successful online retailers such as Amazon, Fabletics and Warby Parker have all ventured beyond the digital landscape to open physical stores in recent years. Though it may seem counterintuitive in today’s rocky retail climate, these retailers are finding real value in reaching customers the old-fashioned way. According to Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky, the retailer’s burgeoning chain of bookstores is “another way [for the company] to reach the customer and test what resonates with them.”

No matter how long a retailer has been in the brick-and-mortar game, its longevity will depend on not only its ability to create enhanced experiences for customers but its unique take on how to keep them coming back. One shining example is Nordstrom, which is slated to open 17 new stores this year (amid a landslide of closures for other department stores). The retailer has long been hailed for excellent customer service, from hassle-free returns to hand-delivering items to homes. Whole Foods has also succeeded in this vein, going to great lengths to ensure an inviting environment with colorful displays and carefully-curated playlists.

This “feel-good” takeaway is yet another aspect that is largely exclusive to the real-life shopping realm, and it goes hand-in-hand with shaping the new face of retail. Now is the vital time for retailers to embrace these realizations, as many shoppers still prefer buying from physical stores over shopping online — and forward-thinking, experientially-minded retailers have a shot at keeping it that way.

Top takeaways from Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report

Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report is essentially required reading for anyone who works in tech and advertising. In 355 slides, she analyzes relevant trends in internet adoption, advertising + commerce, media + entertainment, gaming, enterprise healthcare, China, India and startups.

In this post, we break down some of the key trends that advertisers need to know:

Meet consumers where they spend their time

The shift to mobile continues as consumers increasingly concentrate more of their media time in mobile at the expense of other channels. However, advertising dollars have not kept pace resulting in a $16 billion opportunity based on the gap between consumer time spent in mobile and advertising dollars spent in mobile. It’s critical for marketers who seek to build relationships with consumers to meet them where they are spending their time.  In today’s advertising economy, consumer attention is the new currency.


Challenges in cross-channel ad measurability

While advertisers rely on measurable engagement metrics, there are still widespread challenges in measuring ROI and offline metrics like conversion and revenue. Before even measuring sales, most marketers and platforms are still trying to figure out if and how their digital activities drove in-store visits.  For example, Snap recently acquired PlaceIQ, and Google have Facebook are now attempting to track store visits and sales through POS data. In 2016, Deloitte reported that digital’s influence on in-store sales surpassed 50%, influencing 56% of all in-store retail sales.  Yet understanding this influence on a shopper-level is still a challenge for most retailers.  In fact, 67% of retail executives said their greatest obstacle in offering an omnichannel experience is tracking customer analytics across channels. See more on how Shopkick measures online to offline attribution here.


Understand the ads that consumers want

Consumers increasingly view non-native advertising formats as both interruptive and annoying, which is why ad blocking software penetration continues to grow. Already close to 20% of US consumers have it installed and that number is much higher in developing markets like China and India.  However, there are ad formats that are viewed more positively, particularly incentive-based video ads tied to mobile app rewards, social click-to-play and skippable pre-roll. For example, 68% of consumers view mobile app reward video ads as positive vs just 19% for mobile app pop-up video ads. This has implications for viewability and engagement going forward, and incentive-based video will continue to grow with consumer favorability.

Shopkick has seen tremendous results with rewarding users for watching video on our platform.  Our engagement rates are significantly higher than industry standards, with a 93% completion rate vs. 68% (IAB). Video is also a powerful driver of in-store activity, increasing both product engagements and purchases. See a case study from Barilla on the power of incentive-based video on driving in-store metrics here.


Incorporate gamification tactics to optimize loyalty and engagement

Mary Meeker examines best practice gaming mechanics like repetition, planning workflows, solving puzzles, completing projects, leveling up, and competition. Successful non-gaming companies have also incorporated these tactics into their products to optimize consumer learning and engagement.

Shopkick is a shopping rewards program, and like many other loyalty programs, we have incorporated conventional gaming tactics into our app to keep our users active, engaged and retained.  As a result, users report feelings of great satisfaction and accomplishment after having earned rewards and accumulated kicks.  Advertisers should incorporate these mechanics into marketing strategies on a campaign level or when selecting advertising partners. These tactics can be leveraged to keep consumer’s attention, keep them engaged, and keep them loyal.

To read the full Internet Trends Report, view here.

Webinar: Challenger brand strategies for CPG success

As a challenger brand in the CPG space, how can you stand out among the corporate brand portfolios and increase awareness for your products? With a limited budget, and in the face of ever increasing options, it’s critical to carefully consider where your marketing dollars will go the farthest.

In this webinar on demand, Shopkick brand expert Michael Reda talks about how challenger brands can create efficient, measurable and meaningful results.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Increase brand awareness without eroding your profit margin by offering rewards
  • Reach new customers before they even enter the store
  • Gamify the shopping experience to keep customers coming back
  • Effectively track an omnichannel campaign for deeper consumer insights


Online to offline attribution with Visa

Consumers seamlessly traverse channels throughout the shopping journey, demanding highly personalized, mobile-enabled, and frictionless shopping experiences. In delivering these omnichannel experiences, retailers can struggle to attribute the impact of digital marketing on physical shopping experiences.

In 2016, Deloitte reported that digital’s influence on in-store sales surpassed 50%, influencing 56% of all in-store retail sales.  Yet understanding this influence on a shopper-level is still a challenge for most retailers.  In fact, 67% of retail executives said their greatest obstacle in offering an omnichannel experience is tracking customer analytics across channels.

Despite roughly 90% of retail transactions still happening in stores, stores lack the real-time data and attribution that retailers are accustomed to online. Beyond just verifying store visits, retailers want to know what customers did inside their stores. Key metrics include product engagement, dwell time in-store, purchase conversion, and whether or not the sale was incremental.

Shopkick’s partnership with Visa Decision Sciences connects the dots across the entire in-store data funnel to enable true online to offline attribution analysis.  Visa measures incremental sales impact through a  “twinning” methodology whereby a control group of unenrolled accounts is created from the Visa cardholder base to match spend behavior of the enrolled Shopkick population.

Shopkick Visa Data Partnership

Analysis from January 2017 shows significant and sustained incremental sales across Shopkick’s merchant partners — sales that would not have happened without Shopkick. On average, 57% of overall sales driven by Shopkick were incremental. Of that 57%, 73% of incremental sales was driven by new customer acquisition, and 23% was driven by increased spend of existing customers.

This ability to measure not just store visits, but also sales and incrementality will unlock the potential of omnichannel marketing, and drive growth for brick & mortar retail.

Webinar: CPG’s new endless aisle

Until now, CPG brand marketing has largely been dictated by the physical structure of an in-store aisle. Now, as customers expect to locate products anywhere and buy them at any time, grocers and brand marketers need to step up to deliver what today’s shoppers want and what tomorrow’s shoppers will demand.

In this webinar on demand, Shopkick RVP William Gonzales talks about how CPG marketers can succeed with the new Endless Aisle. He covers how to deliver highly personalized, mobile-enabled, and frictionless shopping experiences.

You’ll hear:

  • Research on how today’s consumers shop, and how marketers can engage them along the entire path to purchase
  • A success story from Barilla’s Pronto Pasta
  • A look at future trends in anytime, anywhere commerce


Introducing Shopkick Grocery

Today’s grocery shopping experience exists across two universes: the digital and the physical. Shoppers are increasingly turning to apps, e-commerce, and digital personal shopping for convenience. Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods for nearly $14b is a clear indicator that the battle for innovation in grocery is on. How can grocers continue to attract business in this ever-evolving space?

Why Shopkick Grocery?

As a shopping rewards app, Shopkick’s mission is to drive product engagement and in-store action—effectively re-energizing consumers around the modern shopping experience. For the last seven years, Shopkick has primarily served the electronics and consumer apparel industries, but 2017 marks a new venture into the grocery store vertical. 

Grocery is a large, attractive market with $770B in total supermarket sales in the US,  and we believe it’s one in which we can contribute. Adding a mobile digital layer to brick-and-mortar grocery stores is the next step in necessary innovation. With online options gaining traction, turnkey mobile solutions like Shopkick can help incentivize shoppers of all ages to continue visiting stores.

These incentives matter more than ever, especially in light of the perceived convenience of shopping online. After all, high-frequency essentials shopping can be time-consuming and cumbersome. According to a user survey, 70% of Shopkick users visit multiple grocery stores every week. This gels with 2016 FMI findings that show an average of 1.6 shopping trips per week. For many, planning the grocery trip starts long before they step foot in the actual store—from reviewing the pantry and fridge (85%) to scanning for deals and coupons (60%) to planning meals (40%) and checking with other household members (50%).  

According to Nielsen research, the most common forms of in-store digital engagement are online or mobile coupons and mobile shopping lists. However, most brands would prefer to drive users to shelves without the use of costly coupons, which can crunch profit margins and dilute their brand. Shopkick empowers these brands by offering new and innovative ways of incentivizing sales—without requiring coupons or other traditional methods.

We’re pleased to share that so far, it’s working. We’ve spent the last year in beta testing, and we’re encouraged by what we see: Shopkick Grocery users spend nearly twice what the average American spends on groceries ($59 versus $32 a visit). They also go shopping more often (an average of 2.2 versus 1.6 times weekly). Product engagement is also boosted—with users engaging 33% more with what they see on the shelf than those who don’t use Shopkick.

The reason is simple: the game of earning rewards is fun. In the context of grocery shopping, one moment of joy goes a long way, and Shopkick provides these moments at home, in the aisle, at the register, and beyond. Retailers like Whole Foods have gotten the memo, too, with efforts focused on making grocery shopping more pleasant and aesthetically pleasing overall. It’s all part of the transformation from something that feels like a chore to something one actively chooses to do—and ensuring the longevity of a tried-and-true American pastime: shopping at the grocery store.

To learn more about Shopkick Grocery, visit https://www.shopkick.com/grocery-partners or contact us.

The next generation of retail experiences

Is your brand prepared for the CPG shopping experience of the future? Is your retail store equipped? New, innovative technologies are powering the next generation of in-store experiences and beyond. These three tips will help you create an efficient, effective endless aisle strategy.

1. Reach Consumers Pre-Store During Micro-Moments

Busy schedules and long to-do lists have fragmented the average shopper’s attention span. Dedicated ‘shopping trips’ are becoming a thing of the past. Shopping now happens during small windows throughout the day, such as 20 minutes while waiting to pick up a child from school or arrive at an appointment.

Today’s consumers place a premium on experiences, and these micro-moments offer an ideal opportunity to engage customers with educational videos or life hacks like timesaving recipes, money-saving offers, and product alternatives before they enter the store. Retailers, grocers and brand marketers need to build on the behavioral elements that drive purchase now and extend experiences across screens, beyond the store, and around the clock.

2. Focus on time spent, not clicks

App downloads are slowing thanks to a maturing ecosystem, dropping 20% among the top 15 US app publishers. However, a year-end analysis by App Annie found that time spent in apps is up by 25% over last year, so clearly this medium isn’t going anywhere. Apps remain an important touchpoint with consumers, indicating that engagement and frequency of use are the most accurate success metrics.

Consumer attention is the currency in marketing and advertising today. Retailers and brand marketers need to understand that it’s time spent that matters most, not click-throughs or downloads. As a result, it makes sense to focus more on immersing existing customers into the brand experience than enticing new customers.

3.    Develop Mutually-Beneficial Campaigns for Customer and Brand

The strongest argument for interactive engagement in-store is that ‘endless aisle’ solutions benefit brands, retailers, and consumers alike. Cutting-edge marketing technology finally enables CPG marketers to achieve closed-loop attribution for their efforts, while retailers see additional foot traffic, more guidance and exploration in-store, and movement from the perimeter to the center aisles. Consumers have a more entertaining shopping experience, save money, and accumulate rewards simply for doing the shopping they’d already planned to do.

Your brand or store doesn’t have to build a record-breaking mobile app to succeed. Consider the role interactive technology plays in your current customer interactions and how delivering an out-of-the-box, endless aisle solution can deliver better results for your marketing efforts.

Marketing to shoppers in a populist era

Incredible change has taken place in the US recently. Our country is different. The world is different. We’re in a populist era, which means things are changing for retailers, grocers and brands.

Today’s American shopper

Most Americans aren’t seeking convenience-focused services such as weekly meal boxes or online ordering. In fact, last year only 3% of Americans purchased groceries online. Most households are deeply value conscious and visit their local grocery stores 1.6x per week on average.

Many marketers live and/or work in the major urban hubs, which can be dangerous for brands and retailers. It’s clearer than ever that coastal cities operate as silos that don’t represent the country at large.

It is crucial for brands and retailers to be in touch with the communities they serve.

Most of our users at Shopkick are average income mothers from middle America looking for deals and rewards for making purchases.  Therefore, it’s crucial that our Postmates and Instacart-loving employees, based in the tech and agency hubs of New York, Chicago and Silicon Valley, understand that this segment has different needs and motivations than their own. We learn from our audience’s behavior, and we deliver the most relevant incentives for each touchpoint along their shopping journey: at home, when they are out and about, when they are near the store, and as they peruse the aisles.

One way to do this is to literally stay in touch with shoppers. Ask them what they like about a product or a store and what they don’t. Usually, it will circle back to the way it makes them feel. We are all human after all, and purchasing decisions are psychological and emotional.

Another important initiative is to help shoppers feel connected to your brand. They want to be rewarded and appreciated for spending their hard-earned money to take care of their families. Businesses need to understand and respect customers by offering products, services and experiences that align with their lifestyles.

For example, by spending in-person time with our customers and closely analyzing their in-app behavior, we know Shopkick customers are engaging with branded content and video in our app from their homes. Each user spends about 2.5 hours per month in the app – browsing products, watching videos, looking for kick earning opportunities, and planning her trip.

Respecting your audience’s motivations, budgets and behaviors does not have to come at the expense of business requirements. For example, discounts and coupons may influence shopping behavior, however they also cut into margins and could negatively impact the brand. As an alternative, offering rewards creates ‘moments of joy’ for shoppers, and those feel-good associations with your brand or store can increase purchases. We’ve found that rewards will motivate shoppers to go to a different retailer to buy favorite products, or to try a different brand than they typically purchase.

Understand and appreciate the shoppers of today to remain current and hit your goals. Leverage mobile behaviors. Recognize loyalty. Create a rewarding experience. And don’t forget to make it fun.