TECHNOLOGY

Dick’s Sporting Goods uses data to gets its product right

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Dick’s Sporting Goods is using predictive analytics to optimize its merchandise assortment.

With a focus on getting its product right, the retailer announced a multi-year expansion of its partnership with First Insight. Dick’s has been using the company’s consumer-driven predictive analytics for nearly three years to make design, buying and pricing decisions on its branded and private label products in multiple categories, including sports equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories. The platform has helped the retailer better understand how to capture market share and has helped it to make more informed product assortment, initial price and price promotion decisions.

“First Insight is a critical element in the success we have achieved as a company over the last three years,” said Will Swisher, senior VP, merchandise planning, allocation and replenishment at Dick’s Sporting Goods. “They have helped us rationalize our product assortments and are an instrumental partner in the day-to-day decisions of our product development and merchandising teams.”

First Insight uses online social engagement tools to gather real-time preference, pricing and sentiment data on potential product offerings. The information is filtered through the company’s predictive analytic models to determine which products and price points present the greatest opportunity. The solution is enabling Dick’s to evaluate a greater number of products and thus make a larger investment in products that are predicted to perform well, while eliminating those that won’t, according to First Insight.

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon extends delivery, pickup service to more Whole Foods locations

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Even more Whole Foods Markets customers can now take advantage of Amazon’s online delivery options.

The online giant on Wednesday said it has launched free two-hour delivery from Whole Foods through Prime Now across Annapolis, Maryland; Cleveland, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; North and Central New Jersey and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It will also be expanding into more areas across New York City, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The program offers Prime members two-hour delivery for free and ultra-fast delivery within one hour for $7.99 on orders of $35 or more. The service is now available in 53 cities, according to Amazon.

In addition, the online retailer now offers its grocery pickup service in Whole Foods Markets stores operating in Louisville; Dayton, Ohio, and Omaha, Nebraska. The service enables Prime members to pick up their order at a local Whole Foods Market store within an hour — without leaving their car.

Customers can choose free pickup within an hour on orders of $35. A $4.99 fee applies orders ready within 30 minutes. Including these cities, the service is now available in eight markets. More cities will be added throughout 2018.

Amazon’s curbside service takes a swipe at rivals Walmart and Target, as well as supermarket operators, including Kroger, Publix and H-E-B, which also offer drive-up grocery pickup options.

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This holiday message creates the biggest conversions

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Emails highlighting Cyber Monday make shoppers want to spend.

This was according to the “2018 Holiday Guide” from Yes Lifecycle Marketing, which revealed that Cyber Monday emails sent in 2017 generated the highest average conversion rates (purchase per click) among all holiday emails (9.8%).

Despite generating a nearly 16% lower engagement rate (12%) than business-as-usual (BAU) emails (13.9%), Cyber Monday campaigns were almost twice as effective in converting clicks to purchases. Even though over half (53%) of Cyber Monday emails were sent on the day of the event, they drove a 12.7% conversion rate, the highest of any other day marketers deployed Cyber Monday campaigns.

Offers included in the email subject line also had a significant impact on the performance of Cyber Monday campaigns. Emails promoting “percent off’ discounts in their subject lines generated an average conversion rate of 18.1%, while messages that didn’t include a specific offer in the subject line drove only a 3.8% average conversion rate.

“Shopping events like Cyber Monday have become table stakes for marketers looking to maximize revenue during the holiday season, but the competition for customer attention and share of wallet is stiffer than ever,” said Jim Sturm, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “To cut through the noise, marketers must evaluate factors such as day of the week performance, themes and offers and tweak their Cyber Monday campaigns accordingly.”

Conversions also dropped off sharply for emails sent in the days following Cyber Monday. In fact, 8% of all Cyber Monday emails were deployed on the Tuesday following the event. While they generated an impressive 16.2% open rate, these messages promoting a one-day extension of the Cyber Monday sale only drove a 2.7% conversion rate, suggesting shopping fatigue, underwhelming offers or other barriers to purchase.

Additional findings include:

• Green Monday, the second Monday of December, was the least utilized campaign theme (leveraged by just 7.1% of marketers). Yet, Green Monday emails generated the third highest engagement and conversion rates among all messages, outperforming conversions for standard emails by 35%.

• In 2016, Black Friday emails sent on the Tuesday before the holiday generated just a 2.5% conversion rate, while in 2017 they drove a 9% conversion rate, reflecting a shift in marketers’ strategies around the event – from making savings accessible earlier in the week to offering limited qualities of popular items and emphasizing the limited time frame for accessing these offers.

• For Thanksgiving emails, click rates were highest (17.1%) for messages sent on Wednesday, while open rates (18.3%) were highest for those sent on Tuesday, as many brands moved to send themed emails on Thanksgiving Eve with last-minute previews for upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

• While open rates for Christmas emails increased by 22%, conversions dropped by 30% YoY, likely due in part to marketers adopting a value-add approach that focused on nurturing engagement and eschewed offers in the subject line.

“Shopping events like Cyber Monday can be a boon for marketers,” said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “To make the most of these holidays, drive meaningful engagement and generate revenue, marketers need to utilize intuitive technology to identify consumers’ shopping behaviors and preferences and rely on data-savvy services teams that can translate this data into a cohesive, results-driven holiday marketing program.”

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