Friday, February 28, 2014

The 4 Things Successful Retailers Know About Today’s Consumer

New report identifies the changing shopping behaviour of Canadians—and suggests how retailers can adapt - Deborah Aarts || February 26, 2014

Shoppers today aren't just pleased to shop with retailers who offer several ways to buy stuff—they expect it. In fact, former nice-to-haves (like an easy-to-access storefront, a ecommerce-enabled website and a mobile shopping app) are now becoming table stakes for Canadian store operators.

This is one of the key takeaways of a new survey of retail expectations conducted by PwC. The survey polled more than 15,000 consumers (located in Canada and around the world) to get a sense of what, exactly, today's shopper wants when opening his or her wallet. According to a report detailing the research, "the bar is now much higher for retailers with world-class aspirations."

This is not exactly news to any retailer struggling to compete in 2014. Changing customer expectations have made it extremely difficult for store operators—especially independents—to thrive. So, what is the solution? In PwC's view, "a new approach is needed, and retail customers are pointing the way."

Here are the four key things PwC believes consumers want today—and some tips on how your business can adapt to them.

1. A distinct and compelling brand

The term "brand story" isn't just for marketers any more. Contrary to popular belief, today's consumers are becoming more and more loyal. In fact, data shows that they want to shop at fewer retailers; in 2013, 59% of Canadian shoppers patronized just five or fewer national non-grocery retail chains, up from 46% a year earlier. (Multichannel shoppers are even more loyal, with a whopping 97% shopping at fewer than five major retailers.)

When choosing which of the select few stores they'll buy from, shoppers look for compelling, clear and engaging branding. When asked why they buy from their preferred retailer, the top answer was not price or selection, but rather "I trust the brand," as this infographic shows:

2. Customized offers

We live in a world where customization is king, and it's permeated shopper expectations. Canadian consumers want retailers to understand and appreciate their individual tastes—and to provide offers that complement those preferences. Big data and analytics tools are making it easier for store operators to meet these needs (mostly by reviewing past purchases).

At the same time, however, consumers are skittish about retailers knowing too much about them—especially if they believe their personal information may somehow be compromised. For instance, as the infographic below illustrates, more than half of Canadian shoppers who don't buy online cite security concerns as their main reason.

A good way to ease their worries, according to PwC, is to to be "absolutely transparent" about how you plan to use the customer data you collect. "It's essential to clearly communicate what data is being collected, how it will (and won't) be used, how long it will be retained and how it will be protected," the report reads. "Everyone with a customer-facing role—right down to the clerks at the cash desk—should be able to explain the company's data usage policies to customers." Such candor builds trust, researchers say, which encourages shoppers to share more information.

Up next: An amazing digital experience

3. An amazing digital experience (on all devices)

Today's consumer is buying in more ways than ever before. Along with buying in-store and from a computer, 26% of Canadian shoppers bought products using a tablet in 2013 (up from 22% in 2012), while 29% did the same using a smartphone (up from 23%). Mobile shopping was up even in categories you wouldn't expect, such as household appliances (see infographic below).

PwC claims consistency is crucial to success in this multichannel environment. When a customer visits to your website, Facebook page, mobile site and, yes, your store, they want an easy to navigate, and easily recognizable, experience.

Up next: Transparency

4. Transparency

Your stockroom should no longer be a place of mystery. Shoppers today want to know exactly what you have available, and when. And if you don't have it, they'll check out whether your competitors do. When asked to identify what type of in-store technology would most enhance their shopping experience, the most common response (with 47% choosing it) was the ability to check other store or online stock quickly. (The infographic below details the second, third and fourth choices.) Such once-buzzworthy tech trends as QR codes and video walls barely register.

Giving customers visibility into your inventory has other benefits, too. It'll force you to up your own inventory-management game, which is likely to improve your broader supply chain. And, as researchers say, giving customers a window into your stock will give you even more valuable data about their shopping preferences. "The more retailers can learn about their customers' buying habits," the report's authors write, "the better they can understand and engage them."


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Facebook Fraud - great info!

How often do you hear your clients talk about facebook advertising.  Often enough to invest 9 minutes to learn more about it?



According to the experiments and data in this video it is deeply flawed.  I’m not saying we hit the streets damning facebook, but this is knowledge worth having.  Once you understand the data, you can respond to your client with questions like “how has your engagement level on facebook changed since you started advertising?”  Just asking the question will make them think, and hopefully act, positioning you as a trusted advisor.

CORUS RELEASE: Spirit Of Radio Sunday Launches On 102.1 the Edge

Corus Entertainment’s 102.1 the Edge (CFNY-FM) is bringing back the music that changed the face of radio in the late ‘70s and ‘80s with a weekly special celebrating The Spirit of Radio. Beginning March 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Spirit of Radio Sunday will be hosted by Scot Turner and will feature the artists that defined the alternative rock format such as U2, The Police, Depeche Mode, New Order, Talking Heads, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, OMD, The Smiths, The Cure and Tears for Fears.

“Spirit of Radio Sunday will celebrate CFNY’s legacy as the only station that showcased emerging artists during the rise of new wave, punk and alternative music,” said Blair Bartrem, Brand Director, 102.1 the Edge. “We are thrilled to have former on-air personality Scot Turner host the show, taking our listeners back to CFNY’s roots.”

Turner was a DJ on CFNY from 1984 to 1992 where he created and hosted/co-hosted various feature shows including Live In Toronto and The Thursday Thirty. Currently, Turner is Brand Director for Corus Entertainment radio stations 91.5 The Beat and 107.5 DAVE FM in Kitchener, Ontario.

CFNY became one of the most pioneering and influential radio stations in the world that explored new music and allowed freedom of expression, individuality and music choice of its DJs.

Spirit of the Radio Sunday can be heard every Sunday beginning March 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit

Thursday, February 20, 2014

MEDIA ADVISORY: Toronto Maple Leafs and Sport Chek to host Outdoor Practice


WHAT:              The Toronto Maple Leafs and Sport Chek will host celebration of hockey that will surprise a local minor league hockey team with the chance to live like a pro.  Minor bantam AA team, Ted Reeve Thunder was randomly selected from the Sport Chek Team Assist program and will learn from past and present Leafs about what it takes to be a professional hockey player.


                        The day will start at the newly-renovated Greenwood Park outdoor rink with Ted Reeve Thunder players participating in the Train like a Pro session with Leafs legend Wendel Clark.  They will then have the opportunity to watch and learn from select members of the current Toronto Maple Leaf roster as they host an outdoor practice.


                        Greenwood Park is a recent recipient of the $300,000 investment from the MLSE Foundation.  Last year, the City of Toronto with support of the MLSE Foundation completed a renovation that saw significant upgrades to the change rooms, pad, rinkboards and refrigeration system.  A skate trail and roof were added making it Toronto’s first covered rink.


Leafs alumni and former Olympians, Curtis Joseph and Shayne Corson will also be on hand to sign autographs and meet with spectators. 


WHO:                Select members of Toronto Maple Leafs (players and coaches)

                        Toronto Maple Leaf Alumni

                        Ted Reeves Thunder team

                        Hundreds of kids from the MLSE Shape Up program


Interview and Photo opportunities available

**Media to check-in at Alton Avenue entrance

**Media truck parking available off of Alton Avenue at the south side of the park


WHEN:              Friday, February 21, 2014

8 – 9:15 a.m. – Train like a Pro (Interview availability after training session)

10 – 11:30 a.m. – Toronto Maple Leafs Outdoor Practice (Interview availability after practice)



WHERE:           Greenwood Park

150 Greenwood Ave

Toronto, Ontario

M4L 2P8


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Digital disconnect: local web buys don’t always keep up with online marketing plan

The if-you-build-it-they-will-come cliché may be true, eventually, for local radio’s digital properties. At least if advertisers follow their own thinking. Three-quarters of national marketers say local websites are “very important or essential” to their marketing plans, yet only 22% of them say they also make buying local websites a priority. That digital disconnect is uncovered by the online marketing firm Balihoo, which also finds that most national brands are ramping up their local online buys in 2014. “Research shows that consumers prefer buying products and services in their local markets,” Balihoo VP of marketing Susan Tormollen says. Even more critically, she says the research shows that buying digital locally “leads to increased returns on a national brand’s ability to capture consumers and direct them to a desired place of purchase.” Balihoo’s self-described “micro-study” of 185 of its corporate clients found that 34% expect to spend more on local marketing this year, while 48% will hold budgets steady. It also showed that the smaller national brands tend to leave more marketing up to local partners than larger brands. Asked which tactics they’re most interested in, advertisers said email, followed by website display advertising.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Toronto Star outsourcing Ad Sales to Metro - Sandy Muir Letter

Publishing is changing right before our eyes.  The Toronto Star and Metroland have combined to create a group that will service all facets of the Toronto Star.  This is an incredible move that shows how media is becoming more of a commoditity to be managed by the largest companies in the country.  Here is the letter that Sandy Muir released to the media and advertisers.  
Last November, we informed you of our decision to outsource the Toronto Star’s advertising sales function to Metro English Canada in the first quarter of 2014.

At the time of the announcement, Star Publisher and Star Media Group President John Cruickshank stated that this change will better position the Star and Metro as leading providers in Canada of effective, compelling and distinctive marketing solutions.  It will provide marketers with access to the audiences of both brands through a single point of contact. 

We are very pleased to report that the transition of the Star’s advertising sales work to Metro is well under way.   Metro has advised us that they are prepared to assume responsibility for Toronto Star advertising sales effective Monday, March 3.   They are assembling an industry-leading group of talented sales staff and sales leaders, who will ably represent the Toronto Star as well as representing their own publications across Canada.

You should expect to receive a follow-up communication from Metro in the next couple of weeks that will identify your new sales team and their appropriate contact information.

We are confident that this change will further enhance the Star’s position as one of Canada’s leading media brands and marketing vehicles.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Yours truly

Sandy muir
Sandy Muir