Monday, October 20, 2014

Let's Put Some Focus On Sampling: A Great Marketing Techniques

I read an excellent articles about a very efficient marketing tool a lot of marketing professionals don't seem to master: sampling

Sampling is a great way to give the opportunity to potential buyers to try out your products, and to convince them to buy it. Indeed, one of the reason why people tend not to switch from one product to another, or avoid new products is because they fear to be decieved or that the product is not worth what they will pay. By sampling, you limit the potential deception, and you can boost your sales!

Now you must use wisely this tool:
  • Sampling to anyone may not be that efficient: If you hand out free products to anyone, you will give probably 80% of your samples to people not in your target, which is not what you are planning.
  • Sampling should not also be considered as giving out your products, especially if you do it quite often. It will lower the face value of your products.
But I like some of the ideas of the article:
  • Get samples of different flavors in a tea box, to push customers to try out new flavors
  • Allow to get samples regularly with other purchases of the customers, which will boost your cross category sales
  • Get samples as the "exra value" of your products, which will increase customers' satisfaction.
Also, some good tips not to neglet:
  • If you use this technique, you should for sure not be greedy with the sampling, which could actually be as deceiving as not giving samples.
  • The medium (either a person, or a website) you use to access the samples should also be of quality. It should not be a bargain and to send 3 files to get a small sample of skin cream...
  • You should also focus on the education you may give to the customers around your product. The person needs to get as much information as possible about the products to make sure it will adopt the product and consume it from now on.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ikea Plans And Strategy In France

After Costco unveiling its strategy in China, a second global retailer has some quite innovative strategy in a foreign country. Ikea has announced three very important news about its expansion in France, and both of them focus on bringing Ikea downtown, in Paris. This is a very interesting strategy as Ikea so far has thriven in rural and urban places with its concept. But as competition is getting tough, Ikea needs to find new ways to get new customers.

Ikea testing some pick up lockers
Some companies have already had the ideas of locker to pick up goods bought online, such as Amazon, Walmart, or Dia for grocery shopping. Ikea will soon propose its own locker to pick up its furnitures. It will obviously implies large lockers, far larger than the ones operated by the other company I listed above.
The concept will be tested in France at the Lille's store. The lockers will also allow customers to use them for returns. So far this locker is only a prototype, but it could be launched at a large scales, in public transfert places such as train stations.

The invention of a "Shazaam for furnitures"
Second innovation, Ikea is working on an application that will allow the customers to take pictures of any furnitures. The application will be able to recognize the model, and for example if its an Ikea's model, to propose to buy it online.

These two ideas are very innovative, and I believe they will experience great success.

The opening of a store in downtown Paris
So far Ikea has not been looming on downtown store, but as more and more customers live in large cities, Ikea has decided to open a location in Paris. This store will be more a flagship than anything else, as the company is not forecasting any profitability of this store. Nevertheless, if Ikea is able to find the right chemistry to launch downtown locations, it may expect in a near future new business opportunities.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Costco's Strategy to Enter China

Costco is probably one of the most fascinating retailer in the world. Despite tough macro economic situation, Costco still performs better than most of its competitors. Also, Costco is one of the fewest US retailer that experiences real success abroad, with 30% of its warehouses located outside the US.

Costco has developped its international strategy the past few years, with especially big plans in Europe, with the launch this year of operations in Spain, and forecasted operations in France for 2015. 

But Costco made the news headlines this week by entering the Chinese market with a quite unusual approach. Indeed, Costco started its activities in China not by opening a warehouse, but by setting up an online partnership with E commerce leader Alibaba. What is even more surprising is that Costco has never really been a big fan of Internet sales, focusing on its core warehouse concept, which is thriving despite online competition like Amazon.

But in a country where Ecommerce rules, and where setting up a business means to have a partnership with a local company, this quite innovative approach is for sure a great idea:
  • Ecommerce is a $175 billions business in China
  • This partnership allows Costco to enter the business at a low cost
Now what will it mean for Costco in China. Will they open actual warehouses? Can we expect from them a 100% online strategy? I believe that once Costco will actually focus its strategy on China, there is a high leverage to be expected. What will be difficult for Costco is to set a strong brand in China online without the support of its warehouses.

For sure, Costco's journey in China will be one of the story to follow in the next few years.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

#retail: Connected Apps to Help Online Grocery Business: Hiku by Auchan

Auchan, through its Chronodrive banner, has revolutionized to me the online grocery business by creating the drive thru supermarket. In France this new retail channel has sprung up, and will count for 6 billion euros at the end of 2014.

The main goal now of these companies is to grow the penetration rate (15% of the French population has used a drive thru at least once this year), but also to generate more uses. 

Auchan is hence testing a connected object, named Hiku, to generate more usage of its drives. It is tested on 100 of its top users, since the beginning of July. The object has been designed in order to manage the shopping list of the whole familly, either by scanning bar codes, or by voice orders. Hiku obviously creates a real added value to the users, and has a real marketing purpose: to ease the order process.

I believe that Hiku is going to become a real tool that will change the way we grocery shop.

Monday, August 11, 2014

What Is Wrong With #India for the #retailers? #Carrefour leaving the county

India represents one of the highest growth potential for retailers in the world, and so for the longest time. Its 1.2 billion people population and its rising economy represents for sure a high potential. Especially while Brazil and China has already been colonized for the longest times by global retailers such as Carrefour, Casino, or Walmart. 

But the expansion in China and Brazil has been achieved while ago, and both legislation and poor transportation infrastructure has made it nearly impossible for retailers to grow. After two tries, Group Carrefour, the largest retailer in the world outside its local market, has decided to abandon its activities

Here is why:
The Indian government opened up the country's $500 billion retail sector to foreign supermarket operators in 2012, but mandatory local sourcing requirements and a decision to let individual Indian states decide whether to allow global chains have deterred new entrants.
Only British supermarket operator Tesco Plc has so far announced plans to set up stores in India.
The new Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, elected in May, has also opposed foreign investment in the supermarket sector, fearing it will hurt small shopkeepers.
"The barriers were laid down by the previous government and the new government only made it worse by opposing the policy," said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of retail consultancy Third Eyesight.
"So companies who do not want to lose money in the market have been left with very little choice but to either hold back or fold up," he said.
The world's largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc last year called off its Indian partnership and shelved a plan to open retail stores. The company is now focusing on opening wholesale stores in the country and recently launched an e-commerce venture in India.
But I believe India really need retailer in order to boost its demand and its economy. Hence, retailers will allow the country to grow its purchasing power, and its ability to afford a better lifestyle, which could boost the sales of other international suppliers such as P&G, Nestlé, or Mondelez. 
Obviously, India wants to keep control over this important market in order to allow an Indian retailer to keep a competitive place prior to the arrival of retail tycoons. The only issue is that these delays really impact the economy of India, which growths is lowering faster than its Chinese and Brazilian competitors. I don't believe anyway that a local operator may be able to grow enough to assure a high retailing service in such a large country. The expertise of international leaders is required to do so.
The time to market has not arrived yet, and some companies are still looming on the market. But for how long?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

When Will We Have Quality Smartphone With Keyboard back?

I have posted several posts about this topic, and my struggle to find a good smartphone now that my last Blackberry bold has fallen apart. 
I own now a Samsung Android Galaxy Ace Smartphone. I was actually quite happy at some point to leave Blackberry, because over the years, I must admit the lack of applications has been a real bargain. I now have access to a lot of cool applications which really help, no questions. I also like the size of the screen, which allows to consult the web and videos very easilly.

But as you may know, I consider a smartphone as a business tool, in order to get organized, but also to "create". By creating, I mean editing text, writting reports or blog posts on the go. Something that I find nearly impossible to make with a tactile screen, wether it is a Samsung's or an Apple's. 

Don't get me wrong, I believe the whole tactile screen idea is genious. Indeed, it allowed to a massive number of people to access the Internet and all its components in mobile activities. It has really and deeply change the world. 

But I still believe there must be a lot of people like I am that would like to have a great keyboard smartphone where they can access applications and all the necessary I was discussing (schedule and task organization software).

Now Blackberry is leaving the smartphone market to focus on network security for businesses. I believe that there must be a place for a premium market to deliver high quality smartphones for executives like I.

Does Anyone know one of those smartphones?

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Demetir, une solution pour améliorer l'expérience client au téléphone

Je voulais faire un peu de publicité pour un service que je trouve très intéressant, qui m'a été présenté par Benoît Bouffard de la société Demetir.

Ils ont développé en effet un système très intéressant pour gérer la partie "qualification" d'un appel consommateur entrant. Ainsi, au lieu d'entrer dans une fastueuse étape où il faut renseigner tout un tas d'information avant d'avoir un opérateur, cette opération ce fait en amont de l'appel, ce qui permet d'améliorer sensiblement l'expérience consommateur, tout en gardant exactement le même type d'informations.

De même, le système permet de faire du feedback management, en mettant directement à la fin de l'appel un questionnaire en place pour voir la satisfaction de l'appel.

Je pense que le système est ingénieux, et permet de sensiblement améliorer la relation client.

Qu'en pensez-vous?