Conversations with Walmart employees, interviews with executives familiar with Spotlight and publicly available episodes from Walmart’s Sparkcast podcast give a glimpse into how the growing program is trying to turn employees into a social media force to be reckoned with -- and might presage a future in which retail workers are tapped to promote products, broadcast store promotions and combat bad press.
But the Colgate and Headspace collaboration is the latest example of brands testing out niche smart technology. Companies are looking at collaborating with a whole host of smart products, from toothbrushes to smart fridges. Their reason for experimenting beyond the Alexas and Google Assistants of the world is largely about centralizing customer data. Turning to alternate smart products presents a way for brands to reassert control.
Starting Dec. 15, Uber for Business' Vouchers program has new features aimed at retailers' marketing and customer service. The delivery service has expanded the program, which was originally focused on corporate ride compensation. The company hopes businesses will apply the Uber credit incentives to their customer service and marketing strategy.
In a pitch deck obtained by Modern Retail, the national pharmacy showcased it vast retail footprint and first-party data. Walgreens is the latest retailer to trying to update its digital program. Over the last few months, it has been launching new digitally-focused services, including an updated app and loyalty program. But it faces headwinds a number of headwinds. Namely, convincing large brands to invest in a niche and nascent media network that's yet to be proven out.
Buy now, pay later has become one of the biggest shopping trends of the pandemic. Thanks to a struggling economy and unpredictable holiday season, millions of consumers and hundreds of retailers are embracing installment payment services like Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm. And they're advertising them prominently during holiday promotions.
This year, some retailers and major marketers are treating Cyber Monday as a Cyber Week or even as an unofficial Cyber Month, boasting sales once reserved for a single day for much of November. Lengthening Cyber Monday from one day to several days or weeks isn’t all that surprising given the rise in e-commerce due to the pandemic. With more holiday shopping happening online this year, getting shoppers’ attention with early deals is a logical move, according to industry analysts who say that worries about shipping delays has people shopping earlier for holiday deals this year.
Roblox is still in its infancy as a marketing tool, but over the last two years, the number of brands and retailers on Roblox has grown dramatically. Compared to other gaming systems, it is incredibly easy to discover new games on Roblox, which makes the platform well suited to help even small brands build a large, passionate audience. In fact, one agency told Modern Retail that retailers -- including grocers -- are looking into building their own branded games.
Sherwin-Williams recently fired an employee allegedly over his popular TikTok posts. These types of terminations highlight the awkward relationship between retailers and a rising crop of employee influencers. On one hand, some companies have started encouraging and compensating their low-level workers to post behind-the-scenes snippets to TikTok. Meanwhile, other retailers seem terrified to have employees representing them online -- and might make themselves look worse in the process.
This upcoming holiday season is an extremely hard one for any marketing department. Emphasizing family togetherness, as companies tend to during the holidays, feels out of touch given the requirements of social distancing. Yet beyond their sheer headline value, these marketing gimmicks are also a way to drive people to sign up for corporate membership programs. Whole Foods customers partaking in the insurance program, for example, must already Amazon Prime members.
Mail in catalog shopping may seem like a channel of the past, but one brand that still relies on its circular has found advantages in keeping it on over the years. Uncommon Goods, the online marketplace for gifts and crafts, has adjusted its print marketing this year. The company, which has seen an increase in new e-commerce customers and a huge influx of online traffic, is looking toward new digital tools to retain these new customers.
For years, companies have invested in recruiting employee influencers who can put a face to the brand and offer a (favorable) behind-the-scenes glimpse into their companies. Companies believe that their employees can carry their message much further than a faceless brand account. But while the employee advocacy marketing tactic has existed for a few years, it is increasingly moving into TikTok -- in large part because TikTok is so good at creating a sense of intimacy with viewers.
The major publicly held companies -- like Tupperware, Nu Skin and Primerica -- have posted sales increases. And 63% of companies reported to the Direct Selling Association, the industry’s main trade group, that they’ve seen a “positive impact” on their US revenue since the start of the pandemic. It turns out that the same algorithms that can amplify political social media posts are also great for spreading a multi-level marketing pitch.
Now that the threat of a potential TikTok ban has all but subsided, e-commerce startups are ready to give their advertising dollars to TikTok. And TikTok wants to make it easier for them to do so, thanks to a new partnership with Shopify, that will make it easier for Shopify merchants to run new ads on TikTok. The new partnership signifies that TikTok -- and e-commerce advertisers' interest in it -- is here to stay.
The start of the holiday ads run usually takes place during the long Thanksgiving weekend. However, this year's schedule is all over the place, to say the least. Even before Halloween and Election Day have rolled around, retailers like Gap are already rolling out their national end-of-year TV and digital ads. Gap’s CMO Mary Alderete spoke about the brand is navigating this new terrain.
The days of tossed over branded swag seem long gone, thanks to young brands making branded apparel a core part of their marketing strategy. In recent years, brands like Glossier and SoulCycle proved a community of enthusiastic fans can act as walking billboards. Now, the awareness-growing tactic is being deployed even by new companies. Now, with in-person events out the window, merch is becoming even more important to DTC startups.
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