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Counting Down the Trends

BY Marianne Wilson

Generally speaking, I’m not big on trend forecasts. Maybe it’s because there are so many of them, particularly at this time of the year. They all seem to blend together into a mass of predictions and statistics.

Despite my reservations, there are always a few that stand out. But the one that really seems to grab my attention is from marketing communications giant JWT, New York. For the past eight years now, the firm has released an annual year-end forecast of trends that will drive or significantly impact consumer mind-set and behavior in the year. It’s always a good read, and this year is no exception.

“In our forecast of trends for the near future, new technology continues to take center stage, as we see major shifts tied to warp-speed developments in mobile, social and data technologies,” said Ann Mack, director of trendspotting for JWT. “Many of our trends reflect how businesses are driving, leveraging or counteracting technology’s omnipresence in our lives, and how consumers are responding to its pull.”

Interestingly, JWT does not think its trends are overnight sensations. Here is JWT’s “10 Trends for 2013” report:

1. Play as a competitive advantage: Adults will increasingly come to feel that kids should have plenty of unstructured play to balance out the plethora of tech-based and organized activities.

2. The super stress area: Get ready — We’re entering the era of super stress. And as stress gets more widely recognized as both a serious medical concern and a rising cost issue, governments, employers and brands alike will need to revamp efforts to help prevent and reduce it.

3. Intelligent objects: Everyday objects are evolving into tech-infused smart devices with augmented functionality. (Oakley’s new Airwave goggles for skiers and snowboarders feature GPS sensors, Bluetooth and a screen display.)

4. Predictive personalization: As data analysis becomes more cost-efficient, the science gets more sophisticated. Brands will increasingly be able to predict customer behavior, needs or wants — and tailor offers very precisely.

5. The mobile fingerprint: Smartphones are evolving to become wallets, keys, health consultants and more. Soon, they’ll become de-facto fingerprints, with our identity all in one place.

6. Sensory explosion: In a digital world, a premium will be placed on sensory simulation. Marketers will look for more ways to engage the senses as consumers expect ever more potent products and experiences.

7. Everything is retail: Since almost everything can be a retail channel, brands must get increasingly creative in where and how they sell their goods.

8. Peer power: As the peer-to-peer marketplace expands in size and scope and moves beyond goods to a wide range of services, it will increasingly upend major industries.

9. Going private in public: In an era when living publicly is becoming the default, people are coming up with creative ways to carve out private spaces in their lives.

10. Health and happiness hand in hand: Happiness is being seen as a core component of health and wellness.

Go to www.jwtintelligence.com for additional details.

[email protected]

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Kraft’s fresh take on the New Year

BY CSA STAFF

NORTHFIELD, Ill. — Kraft is gearing up for the New Year with more than 40 new food and beverage choices for consumers.

"Bland and boring do not cut it anymore," said Barry Calpino, VP, breakthrough innovation, Kraft. "We’re seeing an all-out quest for fun, passion and adventure in food and beverages as people embrace a multitude of global and regional flavors. Culinary experimentation is ‘in,’ so everyone wants the flexibility to customize their food. Our latest innovations are fun, great-tasting products that meet those needs and are in sync with today’s lifestyles."

Kraft’s new line of products is inspired by global cuisine, local street foods, farmers markets and restaurant trends. Some new products are hitting store shelves now, with the remainder set to debut in early 2013.

"As culinary trends continue to evolve, one constant is a desire for even more choices," said Robin Ross, associate director of culinary, Kraft. "Consumers have varying and multiple needs for their food and beverage choices. Some consumers find a healthy balance with less complex ingredient lines is important, while others want bold or ethnically-inspired taste experiences. Young people are especially adventurous and food savvy. They don’t want to miss the latest food news, whether it’s trendy flavors, pop-up restaurants or the newest food truck in town."

The new products include New Miracle Whip Dipping Sauces, such as Smokin’ Bacon Ranch, Kickin’ Onion Blossom and Sassy Sweet Tomato; Philadelphia Spicy Jalapeno Cream Cheese; Philadelphia Indulgence Spread line featuring Cinnamon and Dulce de Leche Caramel; and Cracked Black Pepper, Italian Style Pizzeria and Sweet BBQ varieties for both the Kraft and Polly-O String Cheese brands.

Other snacks and food items will include Planters NUT-rition Peanut Butter Cherry Chocolate flavor; Chipotle BBQ, Tomato & Chili Pepper and Cracked Peppercorn A.1. Dry Rubs and A.1. Marinade Mixes; Kraft Anything Dressings Zesty Lime Vinaigrette; Oscar Mayer Bologna Jalapeno and Bacon options; Oscar Mayer Carving Board Pulled Meats; Velveeta-brand Cheesy Casseroles in Chili Cornbread, Chicken Pot Pie and Shepherd’s Pie varieties; Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Dinner Kits featuring Jambalaya, Chicken Parmesan and Ultimate Cheeseburger Mac with 2% Milk Cheese; Kraft Fresh Take cheese and breadcrumb mix featuring Smokey Mesquite BBQ, Spicy Chipotle Cheddar and Classic Four Cheese; and Oscar Mayer Selects Chicken Breast Franks.

New beverage options will include Cherry Blackberry MiO; Crystal Light Liquid featuring Mango Passionfruit, Strawberry Lemonade, Blueberry Raspberry, Iced Tea, Peach Bellini and Pomtini; Tim Hortons coffee, including decaf and latte, available in T Discs.

And bakers will have new Kraft items to choose from as well, including Cool Whip Frosting, Jet-Puffed Mallow Bites marshmallows line featuring fruit-flavored, ice cream cone shaped and brownie bite mini-marshmallows; and Planters NUT-rition Sustaining Energy Mix featuring honey roasted peanuts, crunchy honey soy clusters with soy protein and roasted almonds.

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Online retailers getting satisfaction

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon.com, LLBean.com and QVC.com were the top three retailers on ForeSee’s Annual Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction survey.

This is the eight year the customer experience analytics firm has conducted the survey examining shopper satisfaction with the nation’s top e-commerce players. Rounding out the top 10 in order of their appearance were Vitacost.com, Esteelauder.com, Vistaprint.com, 1800contacts.com, Keurig.com, Scholastic.com. Avon.com and Cabelas.com. The satisfaction report results are based on 24,000 responses from visitors to the top 100 Web sites between Thanksgiving and Christmas with each company assigned a score on a 100 point scale.
This year, aggregate customer satisfaction stagnated at 78 while a few big-name retailers suffered declines. For example, Apple’s online retail store slid 4% to 80, slipping from a tie for second place and out of the top five entirely, registering its lowest score in four years. PC competitor Dell.com also fell 4% to 77 and below the Index average. But the biggest year-over-year decline goes to JCPenney.com, with a 6% decline to 78.

“This year, we’re seeing that even some of the largest companies in the country are at risk if they lose sight of customer satisfaction,” said Larry Freed, ForeSee president and CEO. “Satisfaction with the customer experience, when measured correctly, is the most important predictor of future success, and while Amazon clearly gets it, Apple stumbles from their usual focus on the customer experienceDell, and J.C. Penney seem to be struggling to find their way, which could make them extremely vulnerable to competitors.”

Amazon.com continues to set the standard for customer satisfaction, matching the record high of 88 it set last year in the holiday edition of the Index. Amazon has had the highest scores in the Index for eight years in a row.

“At this point, Amazon has been dominant for so long and has such a history of focusing on the customer, its hard to imagine anyone else coming close,” Freed said.

Shopper Satisfaction with Top 100 Online Retailers in the U.S., Holiday 2012

Website
Holiday 2011
Holiday 2012
Year-Over-Year Point Change
Amazon.com
88
88
0
LLBean.com
81
85
4
QVC.com
83
84
1
Vitacost.com
NM
84
NA
esteelauder.com
NM
83
NA
Vistaprint.com
83
83
0
1800Contacts.com
83
82
-1
Keurig.com
NM
82
NA
Scholastic.com
NM
82
NA
Avon.com
83
81
-2
Cabelas.com
79
81
2
HSN.com
76
81
5
Newegg.com
82
81
-1
1800Flowers.com
NM
80
NA
Blair.com
NM
80
NA
chicos.com
NM
80
NA
freshdirect.com
NM
80
NA
HPShopping.com
80
80
0
Kohls.com
79
80
1
MusiciansFriend.com
NM
80
NA
Netflix.com
79
80
1
OrientalTrading.com
NM
80
NA
Shutterfly.com
NM
80
NA
Store.Apple.com
83
80
-3
VictoriasSecret.com
81
80
-1
Walgreens.com
NM
80
NA
BN.com
81
79
-2
EdibleArrangements.com
NM
79
NA
Nordstrom.com
77
79
2
saksfifthavenue.com
NM
79
NA
Sony Store, Online
74
79
5
Target.com
76
79
3
WeightWatchers.com
NM
79
NA
Williams-Sonoma.com
80
79
-1
amway.com
NM
78
NA
AnnTaylor.com
NM
78
NA
Costco.com
79
78
-1
DisneyStore.com
NM
78
NA
FootballFanatics.com
NM
78
NA
HomeDepot.com
78
78
0
JCPenney.com
83
78
-5
MicrosoftStore.com
NM
78
NA
OfficeDepot.com
75
78
3
ShopNBC.com
NM
78
NA
SierraTradingPost.com
NM
78
NA
SportsmansGuide.com
80
78
-2
Walmart.com
79
78
-1
BestBuy.com
78
77
-1
cdw.com
NM
77
NA
Dell.com
80
77
-3
EddieBauer.com
NM
77
NA
gamestop.com
NM
77
NA
Gap.com
73
77
4
Grainger.com
NM
77
NA
JCrew.com
NM
77
NA
Macys.com
78
77
-1
NeimanMarcus.com
78
77
-1
net-a-porter.com
NM
77
NA
OfficeMax.com
75
77
2
Peapod.com
NM
77
NA
RalphLauren.com
NM
77
NA
Staples.com
78
77
-1
symantec.com
NM
77
NA
thebay.com
NM
77
NA
UrbanOutfitters.com
NM
77
NA
AE.com
NM
76
NA
BassPro.com
NM
76
NA
BlueNile.com
NM
76
NA
CVS.com
NM
76
NA
FootLocker.com
NM
76
NA
Hayneedle.com
NM
76
NA
Nike.com
NM
76
NA
NorthernTool.com
NM
76
NA
REI.com
NM
76
NA
TigerDirect.com
79
76
-3
Toysrus.com
75
76
1
Abercrombie.com
NM
75
NA
AutoPartsWarehouse.com
78
75
-3
Buy.com
74
75
1
efollett.com
NM
75
NA
Lowes.com
NM
75
NA
Overstock.com
72
75
3
PCMall.com
NM
75
NA
Sears.com
75
75
0
ShoeBuy.com
NM
75
NA
shopmyexchange.com
NM
75
NA
wayfair.com
NM
75
NA
FTD.com
NM
74
NA
PCConnection.com
NM
74
NA
shop.com
NM
74
NA
crateandbarrel.com
NM
73
NA
Nutrisystem.com
NM
73
NA
RueLaLa.com
NM
73
NA
Fingerhut.com
NM
72
NA
Gilt.com
NM
72
NA
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