Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice

Launch the Killer New Product

May 25th, 2010 | Posted by retailblogadmin in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Launch the Killer New Product)

Consumers are demanding more, and regulators are stripping away key sources of revenue. It makes for a tough combination. One strategy every bank needs to pursue to face these challenges is to launch new products that attract new customers and to find ways to preserve revenue.

In a recent Banking Strategies article, Joseph Guyeaux (President of PNC) says “times like these – when the industry grapples with credit issues and heightened regulatory oversight – are precisely when banks need to carve out a differentiated value proposition and focus on sources of future growth.” However, it is challenging to determine which new products work and how to most effectively market them. (more…)

Using ATMs to Drive Innovation

May 24th, 2010 | Posted by Will Weidman in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Using ATMs to Drive Innovation)

A recent article in Bank Systems Technology highlights how much ATMs have changed since they were first introduced back in 1966.

ATMs originally provided a quick, easy way to get cash. In recent years, banks have started greatly expanding what a customer can do at the ATM. Many have introduced remote check imaging that allows customers to deposit checks at the ATM.

Now retail banks are pushing ATM innovation even further. This article mentions some banks have started using video conferencing at the ATM that allows customers to talk to a call center representative after hours. While this type of innovation has the potential to improve performance and customer satisfaction, banks need to make sure they are investing in a targeted, smart way and need to understand the best cross-channel strategy to make this innovation successful. (more…)

The former President of Subway’s Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust once said:

Some people think Test & Learn is a lot of nerdy analysis.  I think just the opposite – Test & Learn helps us to be maximally creative and risk taking.

It’s that attitude that identified Subway’s $5 Footlong (from among many tested ideas) and turned it into a massive nationwide success.  Hopefully, that’s the attitude Burger King is taking to its new rib offering, and its high-end offerings in general.

We don’t know if $7 to $9 ribs are going to successfully steal share from casual dining.  Conversely, we don’t know if ribs will confuse the customer as BK tries to compete at $1 and $5 price points.  But neither do industry analysts, despite their pronouncements.

Burger King, on the other hand, can know the answer, because they are testing it.  If they have the right analytics to cut through the noise and understand the real impact, they can find the great success despite the critics.  Or, they can “fail fast” and move onto the next test.

Citi Spends Big on Branch Remodels

May 20th, 2010 | Posted by Jatin Atre in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Citi Spends Big on Branch Remodels)

Citi has big plans for branch remodels. US Banker wrote about Citi’s major investment in its branches and how it plans to change the ways customers use the branch: “The company wants to transform its retail outlets to let customers handle much of their banking needs on their own, using self-service processes that have been perfected online.”

This broad effort will include enlarging the lobby, investing in new technology, and merging different channels to make banking more seamless.

Branch remodels are an important part of doing business to maintain the brand, stay competitive, and adapt to new ways of doing business. However, remodels require a huge investment, and banks often don’t understand the return on that investment and how to best target spend. (more…)

Taco Bell’s has launched its $2 Meal Deal, as described in USA Today.  The deal is a taco or burrito, medium soft drink, and bag of Doritos for $2.  Given the massive successes of McDonald’s Dollar Menu and Subway’s $5 Footlong, it seems likely that consumers will go for a deal at this price point.

The natural question is:  how can they package this offer at this price point and still make money?  The answer must be a great deal with Pepsico, supplier of the chips and drinks.  Of course, the drinks are already high margin, but it makes us wonder what kind of arrangement they have on the chips.  Regardless of the deal in this case, could other restaurants take advantage of branded supplier offers meant to discount but blow the doors off on volume?

This could be step one of bringing a more trade promotion approach to restaurant marketing.  Creative restaurant companies ought to be thinking about tests they could run to push this idea forward.

Learn more about how leading consumer products companies address this issue with remarkable efficacy in driving sales.

Searching for Mother’s Day Dinner

May 11th, 2010 | Posted by JMarek in Marketing & Media - (Comments Off on Searching for Mother’s Day Dinner)

From Google, via, here’s a fascinating table of “hot” search trends around dinnertime on Mother’s Day.  6 of the top 20 are for chain restaurants.

Though anecdotal, this is the best evidence I’ve seen of ability of Search impact to drive restaurant traffic.  Many of the best retailers are already testing to quantify the impact of online ads on in-store sales (see our whitepaper).  Will restaurants catch up?

Have It Your Way

May 7th, 2010 | Posted by JMarek in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Have It Your Way)

The San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting story here about diners who are increasingly picky about avoiding certain classes of food (dairy, gluten, salt, fat, nuts, etc.).  In time, this trend seems likely to work its way from the coasts to the heartland, and from extreme demands on high-end restaurants to constant demands on casual dining and even quick-service restaurants.

I love Chef Charlie Hallowell’s quote in the piece.  Charlie runs the outstanding high-end Pizzaiolo restaurant in Oakland, CA (if you get a chance, go there!).  He talks about diners who come into his pizza place and say they don’t eat gluten and cheese: (more…)

How Big is Mickey D’s?

May 4th, 2010 | Posted by JMarek in Restaurants - (1 Comments)

Here’s an amazing statistic (and a fantastic accomplishment), courtesy of QSR Magazine:

McDonald’s U.S. sales topped $30 billion last year, outstripping the next-closest competitor, Subway, by $20 billion. If Subway were suddenly to merge with Burger King and Starbucks, McDonald’s would still rank No. 1 on QSR’s annual QSR 50 rankings, by a margin nearly equaling the systemwide sales of Dairy Queen.

McDonald’s execution of their “Plan to Win” has been phenomenal.

Dave & Buster’s

May 3rd, 2010 | Posted by JMarek in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Dave & Buster’s)

Another PE deal today. See Part I of our thoughts on Private Equity buying restaurants below.

Social Media Measurement: Deja Vu All Over Again?

May 3rd, 2010 | Posted by JMarek in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Social Media Measurement: Deja Vu All Over Again?)

Oracle makes an interesting attempt at setting social media targets here.  To quote:

Typical [goals] might be to acquire customers, engage them, then convert them. So that translates to:

  1. Increase Facebook fans and Twitter followers
  2. Increase comments/posting and retweets
  3. Increase redemption of offers via Facebook and Twitter

While not unreasonable, we call these “second derivative metrics” here at APT (except redemption… we’ll get to that).  That is, by driving one of these metrics, perhaps that will then drive consideration, which then may drive an incremental visit/purchase.  The funny thing is that this really mimics the broadcast media world, where ad agency measures of “awareness” and “consideration” are de rigueur.

We think you can do better. (more…)