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Study: Don’t overestimate social marketing

BY Dan Berthiaume

Consumers have made it clear what type of marketing influences their purchase decisions, and it’s not always high-tech. According to a new study from branding network Experticity, 82% of marketers believe social media is extremely or somewhat effective in influencing buyer decisions, yet only 49% of consumers reported that they trust brand social media campaigns.

In addition, 83% of marketers believe traditional advertising is the most effective means of influencing buying decisions, but only 47% of consumers say they trust it.

The majority of consumers ranked one low-tech and one high-tech means of marketing as equally influential to their purchases. Consumers ranked family or friends and online reviews, at 72% each, as the most important sources when making a buying decision, followed by third-party experts (61%).

“Consumers clearly value interactions with credible, trustworthy people much more than traditional advertisements,” said Tom Stockham, CEO of Experticity. “Across the board, marketers are overvaluing traditional advertising and not placing nearly enough emphasis on actual people, ‹who, it turns out, are what actually impact consumers most.”

The study also shows the majority of marketers (between 78-86%) report their company is somewhat to extremely skilled in every marketing tactic listed in the survey, yet their confidence and priorities do not line up with what consumers respond to, showing marketers may not understand what really impacts buying decisions.

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True Religion believes in omnichannel

BY Dan Berthiaume

Specialty apparel retailer True Religion has found something to connect the physical to the virtual. The Manhattan Beach, California-based chain, which operates about 900 stores globally, has launched an e-commerce site that links its customer experience across channels.

Using the Demandware Commerce Cloud enterprise cloud platform as a base, the new e-commerce site is fully mobile-optimized. In addition, True Religion leveraged Commerce Cloud’s open platform APIs to deliver an “endless aisle” solution in stores. This provides store associates with a tool to fulfill orders in True Religion’s brick-and-mortar stores from other stores or back-end inventory, helping to avoid lost sales and customer dissatisfaction.

“Demandware is a key component of True Religion’s omnichannel retailing strategy,” said John Hazen, VP of omnichannel commerce and digital innovation at True Religion. “Our customers are very loyal so it was important that the new True Religion site be able to extend our brand to customers wherever they may be. And when they come to a True Religion store, the Demandware endless aisle solution empowers our great associates to deliver truly exceptional service that continually delights our customers.”

For a retailer like True Religion, which has a somewhat limited and denim-heavy product assortment, making sure customers can get the items they want, when and where they want them, is of paramount importance. True Religion has less opportunity for incidental, cross- or upsales than some other retailers. Its new omnichannel strategy that brings e-commerce to wherever the customer is, including the store, is a smart move toward maximizing sales and customer satisfaction.

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Home Depot honors its innovators

BY CSA STAFF

The big winner in The Home Depot’s innovation award program goes to a line of cordless outdoor power equipment fueled by a 58-volt battery.

The Atlanta-based retail giant says the annual award recognizes, in its words: “the most revolutionary new products that provide true benefits to consumers and the companies that exceeded expectations in sales, service and program execution.”

The TTI Homelite / Echo won the retailer's 2015 Innovation Award for its Echo 58-volt line of outdoor power equipment. Runner-up honors were awarded to Wink, Inc. for its Smart Home Hub and American Standard for its Optum VorMax Tall Height Elongated Toilet.

"The Home Depot's goal is to offer customers the most innovative, groundbreaking products that will help them improve their homes while saving them time and money," said Ted Decker, executive VP of merchandising for The Home Depot. "Our merchants consistently work with our manufacturing partners to develop pioneering products that differentiate The Home Depot and attract customers."

Additionally, Solar City won Environmental Partner of the Year for its Residential Solar and Liberty Hardware won Marketing Innovation for its Monthly DIY Project Posts, Content & Social Campaign.

The TTI Homelite / Echo award-winner came to market in 2015 with the launch of Echo 58-volt. This professional-grade system uses a 58-volt battery platform to operate five outdoor tools, combining the power of gas and the convenience of cordless. The system carries one of the industry's most powerful lithium-ion battery packs and a competitive charge time. Each unit comes equipped with a brushless motor customized for that particular tool.

The line includes a string trimmer, hedge trimmer, blower, mower and chain saw.

The Home Depot recognized the companies that round out the top 10 product innovations:

• Milwaukee Tool FUEL Bare Tools
• ITW Paslode Pneumatic Fastening Gun
• ETi Solid State Lighting Linkable LED Shop Light
• Toro Custom Z-Builder
• Broan NuTone EZ Fit Bath Fan
• JELD-WEN Architectural Fiberglass Door
• LG Side-by-Side Refrigerator

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