MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Intense holiday season has begun

BY Mike Troy

Pervasive online price comparisons, the growing popularity of Amazon.com and intense omnichannel activity can be expected this holiday season, according to new consumer research by Market Track.

Pricing is always a consideration for shoppers, but this year transparency will take another leap forward with 85% of all shoppers expected to research prices online and then buy in-store. That figure is up considerably from 54% the prior year, according to Market Track’s survey of 1,000 shoppers. Electronics, small appliances, and toys/games will be the most heavily compared products online. Additionally, the survey revealed that 84% of shoppers plan to shop on Amazon, citing low prices as their reason for doing so. Interestingly, 12% said they plan to shop at online newcomer Jet.com this holiday.

“This holiday shopping season, shoppers will have more options to shop where and how they want than ever before and they won’t be forced to fight the crowds in-store during a single day event to get the best deals,” said Traci Gregorski, VP of marketing at Market Track. “The gap will close on price differences offered online and in-store, and there will be a move toward retailer messaging that emphasizes making things easy for the shopper such as buy online, pick-up in-store, free shipping on out of stock merchandise, and faster delivery for online orders.”

Chicago-based Market Track, a leading provider of advertising, promotional, brand protection and pricing intelligence solutions, also determined that 83% of shoppers said they plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping on Cyber Monday or earlier. Other noteworthy behavorial shifts were that 41% of shoppers surveyed plan to shop online on Thanksgiving versus 11.1% last year while 36% intend to shop in-store on Thanksgiving this year versus 23% last year.

The survey also predicts that Black Friday will be the dominant day for in-store shopping, with 53% of shoppers reporting that they will shop in-store versus 29% in 2014. Further, Cyber Monday is predicted to win the online shopper with 69% of shoppers reporting that they will shop online that day this season.

The survey results indicate that shoppers will be on the hunt for deals everywhere. Nearly three fourths will turn to print circulars to find deals this holiday, 56% will browse retail websites, 51% will catch sales in TV advertisements and 44% will refer to email promotions that hit their inbox.

Based on the survey, Market Track predict the following trends will prevail in the 2015 holiday shopping season.

Jumping the gun: Look for an increase in “Doorbusters,” “Best deals of the season” and “Don’t wait for Black Friday” messaging to take demand out of the market for hot holiday items starting as early as October.

Dare to compare: The increased promotion of bundled and layered offers, as well as owned and exclusive private-label product lines will make it hard for consumers to do direct comparisons based on price and product features alone.

Back to basics: Tried and true traditional push media, such as circulars, TV/radio advertising and email marketing, will continue to be primary tactics used heavily by retailers to draw shoppers to their stores, leveraged in combination with new media and in the moment advertising.

Mobile and social’s impact becomes meaningful: A focus on enhanced user experience and ease of transacting in social and mobile will increase sales results, in addition to continuing to play a large role in terms of influence on transactions.

Driving traffic through the experience: Retailers will focus on creating events and experiences to drive in-store traffic, such as Toys “R” Us creating a play experience where kids can play with the hot holiday toys in-store. Retailers will also differentiate from online shopping by stressing the “try before you buy” concept, and will create excitement through in-store events such as drawings, sweepstakes, and chances to win prizes and gift cards.

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News

Target’s Cornell tasty addition to YUM board

BY CSA STAFF

A little over a year into his tenure as Target’s chairman and CEO, Brian Cornell has added new responsibilities as a member of the board of directors at KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell parent company Yum! Brands.

Cornell’s appointment to the Yum board comes 13 months after he was named to the top job at Target and just three months after Target sold its pharmacy business to CVS Health for $1.9 billion. The latter is noteworthy because two executives with strong ties to CVS Health serve on Yum’s Nominating and Governance Committee.

“Brian is a seasoned retail and consumer products veteran. He brings a wealth of knowledge and best practices to Yum leading one of the largest and most innovative retail companies in the world,” said David Novak, executive chairman of Yum! Brands.

Yum’s CEO Greg Creed said the global operator of 41,000 restaurants was thrilled to have Cornell join its board.

“As we continue to build three iconic global brands that people trust and champion through insight-driven marketing, breakthrough product innovation and digital leadership, Brian’s expertise will complement our efforts to strengthen and grow our brands around the world and deliver strong performance for our shareholders over the long term,” Creed said.

With much work left to be done restoring Target’s growth trajectory, investors might prefer the retailer received his undivided attention as the Yum board met six times in 2014. However, it is easy to see how Cornell got on Yum’s radar after engineering an innovative deal whereby CVS Health acquired and will rebrand and operate Target’s nearly 1,700 pharmacies. Serving on Yum’s Nominating and Governance Committee are Dave Dorman, non-executive chairman of the CVS Health board and Tom Ryan, CVS Health’s former CEO. Dorman has served on the CVS Health board since 2011. Ryan was the long-time chairman and CEO of the pharmacy retailer, but he left the company about the time Dorman joined.

Even without the CVS Health connection, Yum likely would have noticed Cornell due to his diverse business career. Prior to Target, in August 2014, Cornell served as CEO of PepsiCo Americas Foods where he oversaw the company’s global food business, the largest of PepsiCo’s four divisions. He was responsible for a portfolio that included Frito-Lay North America, Quaker Foods and all of PepsiCo’s Latin America food and snack businesses. Before joining PepsiCo in 2012, Cornell served as president and CEO of the Sam’s Club division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Cornell also held the position of CEO at Michaels Stores, Inc., and prior to that, executive VP and chief marketing officer for Safeway.

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OPERATIONS

Hudson’s Bay names digital exec

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hudson's Bay Co. has appointed Dion Rooney to executive VP, HBC digital. Rooney will be responsible for leading the HBC digital business and delivering online experience across all banners.

Rooney brings more than 30 years of senior experience in the IT field. Prior to joining HBC, Rooney served as CIO of Toys “R” Us, where he was instrumental in building a global state-of-the-art omni-channel offering. He has been developing e-commerce strategies and building digital businesses for more than a decade.

Rooney joins HBC's executive leadership team and will report directly to the office of the chairman.

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