retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Content Guy’s Note: Below is a commentary on the same subject as the video piece, but it isn’t word-for-word the same. You can look at both, or is up to you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Hi, Kevin Coupe here, reporting this week from the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, site of the annual SymphonyIRI Group 2011 Summit.

This week I’ve had the opportunity to moderate two different panel discussions focusing on how shoppers will interact with retailers in the future.

The first was up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at the annual Food Industry Conference held by Western Michigan University, and the panel was on the subject of mobile marketing and social media. One of the participants on the panel was a student named Doug Coffman, who told us that he spends some two hours a day on social networks, and identified sites such as Facebook and Twitter as places where his behavior and attitudes can be influenced.

It isn’t just students. Michelle Adams, vp of consumer insights at PepsiCo, told us about research the average American woman spends three hours online - which is staggering, because it means for every woman who is online for an hour a day, there is a woman online for five hours a day. She also explained the increasing dominance of women on the web by talking about research showing that men generally use about 7,000 to 9,000 words a day, while women speak some 20,000 words a day. There’s a joke in there somewhere, but there’s also a serious message - men like to watch, while women are seeking connections.

That’s a serious message to which marketers need to pay attention.

Here in Florida, the panel - which included Tom Furphy of Ideoclick and formerly of Amazon, and Rich Tarrant of MyWebGrocer, who was nice enough to be on both the Kalamazoo and Miami Beach panels - essentially continued the discussion ... and one of the lessons was that if retailers are not aggressive in this area, and willing to work with manufacturers, they run the risk of being disintermediated by manufacturers that look for ways to go around them.

And here’s the big lesson, it seems to me. We are rapidly getting to the point where the e-grocery boat is going to be leaving the dock, and all the major players, as well as a lot of the minor players, are going to be aboard. Those who don’t get on board may find themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage ... and it could be almost impossible to make up.

That’s what’s on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what’s on your mind.
KC's View: