Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice

Banking Strategies: The Top 5 Retail Banking Trends for 2013

December 27th, 2012 | Posted by CCorman in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Banking Strategies: The Top 5 Retail Banking Trends for 2013)

APT VP Will Weidman recently wrote a great byline for Banking Strategies about the top trends for 2013. Check out the article here.

Will outlined the following five trends:

1) Multi-Channel Impact of Mobile/Online

2) Making Money from Mobile

3) Smaller Branches with Innovative Approaches to Staffing

4) Demanding ROI from Online/Social Media

5) Selective Investments in Branch Technology

Will argues that, “as these trends drive transformations in retail banking it becomes increasingly necessary to innovate while minimizing the risk involved in innovation.” Testing continuously proves to be the leading way to de-risk innovation while maximizing profits.

The Guardian: How Retailers Can Drive Value From Big Data

December 27th, 2012 | Posted by CGreenbaum in Retail | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on The Guardian: How Retailers Can Drive Value From Big Data)

A recent article in The Guardian underscores the importance of leveraging Big Data to make critical business decisions. The article offers advice for five key changes that retailers can make to drive value from their Big Data:

  1. Put data at the center of your business culture: This includes making sure to test every new business idea. Read More.
  2. Determine which data matters most for your business: Businesses need to consider how to secure the most meaningful data
  3. Integrate Data: Retailers tend to compartmentalize their data by channel, when they should be taking a single view of their customers. This includes aligning online and in-store sales and promotions. Read about how Nordstrom won with this strategy.
  4. Test, Test, and Test again. Watch this short video to learn more.
  5. Broaden the data set: Start thinking about including external factors, including weather, location, and special events

Leading organizations have already started conducting scientific tests. In-market testing remains the only way to understand cause-and-effect relationships between business decisions and key performance metrics, allowing executives to finally answer the question, “did this program really work?”

Retailers Post Modest Gains During 2012 Holiday Season

December 26th, 2012 | Posted by CGreenbaum in Retail | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Retailers Post Modest Gains During 2012 Holiday Season)

U.S. consumer spending during the 2012 holiday season was lower than expected. Consumers continued to be wary of expanding their holiday shopping lists this year. According to a SpendingPulse report, sales of electronics, clothing, jewelry, and home goods increased only 0.7%, as opposed to the 3-4% analysts were expecting during the two months leading up to Christmas.

The holiday shopping season is the most important time of the year for retailers. November and December make up 40% of retail sales. While steep discounts may not have been enough to bring consumers back into stores this holiday season, we may need to wait to get a clearer picture on holiday spending until next week when major retailers release their revenue reports.

Some analysts are blaming bad weather for softer sales this holiday season. Sales were lowest in those areas affected by the Superstorm Sandy, which blasted the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic in late October. Others are blaming concern over the fiscal cliff in the run up to the New Year. Nonetheless, many retailers are optimistic moving into the New Year. Despite softer overall sales, many retailers point to record-breaking Black Friday sales as a bellwether for 2013.

Finding the Real Thing: Coca-Cola Reinvents the Aisle

December 21st, 2012 | Posted by Dan Schreff in Retail - (Comments Off on Finding the Real Thing: Coca-Cola Reinvents the Aisle)

Coca-Cola is revolutionizing the center-store beverage aisle with its new Beverage Aisle Reinvention (BAR) program, shifting the traditional food retailer paradigm of focusing on perimeter optimization.  (more…)

Leading Retailers Are Testing New Store Formats to Stay Relevant

December 20th, 2012 | Posted by CGreenbaum in Retail | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Leading Retailers Are Testing New Store Formats to Stay Relevant)

A recent article in The Portland Press Herald highlights several companies that are experimenting with new store formats. Some, like Microsoft and Pottery Barn, are testing temporary pop-up stores. Others, like Nine West, are creating new store formats with different merchandising to appeal to new customers.

With the growth of mobile and online shopping, many retailers are questioning the need for larger format stores. Recently, retailers have been experimenting with smaller specialty stores. For example, GameStop Kids, GameStop’s new store concept, is geared toward a kid-friendly crowd. One of Nine West’s new stores revolves around their Vintage America Collection.

Retail strategist Alden Lury expects retailers to experiment with store formats more. He says, “Retailers are focused on more closely connecting with their customers, and that has a lot to do with testing new store formats.” These retailers are trying to create a, “more compelling store experience for their customers,” according to Lury. However, rolling out new store formats is risky, and often involves significant capital investment. Only scientific testing can reveal which store formats work well. More specifically, scientific testing helps retailers understand which elements of new store formats work best so that retailers can allocate resources efficiently and maximize ROI.

P.F. Chang’s Licenses APT’s Test & Learn Management System

December 20th, 2012 | Posted by CCorman in Restaurants - (Comments Off on P.F. Chang’s Licenses APT’s Test & Learn Management System)

Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) announced that P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc., operator of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Pei Wei Asian Diner, has signed an agreement to license APT’s Test & Learn Management System™. P.F. Chang’s will use APT to test strategic and tactical initiatives across its network of nearly 400 polished casual dining and quick-casual restaurants.

Read more about it here.

Brookshire Brothers Casts a New Line: Understanding the Profitability of Innovation

December 17th, 2012 | Posted by Dan Schreff in Retail - (Comments Off on Brookshire Brothers Casts a New Line: Understanding the Profitability of Innovation)

new concept store by Brookshire Brothers combines convenience store staples and gas with high quality home-prepared foods…and a wide variety of fishing supplies. This non-traditional concept has the potential to attract new customers and drive larger baskets through differentiation from typical convenience stores. (more…)

Pinterest Pandemonium: How New Outlets are Influencing Purchasing Patterns

December 16th, 2012 | Posted by Carter in Retail | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Pinterest Pandemonium: How New Outlets are Influencing Purchasing Patterns)

Word-of-mouth has always been a powerful way to influence buying behavior. In fact, a recent survey found that 83% of consumers change their decisions based on positive conversations with existing customers. Though consumers still often learn about where and what to buy directly through “word-of-mouth,” it is now easier than ever for them to access the opinions of thousands of their closest friends and acquaintances through online social networks. And everyone seems to have an opinion – many of which will influence purchasing behavior. Understanding how to leverage this new world of online research and chatter to drive sales is critical in succeeding in this evolving environment.

One of the latest online phenomenas is Pinterest, a social network, which allows users to create virtual bulletin boards of items and products they like. With roughly 10 million users, new reports indicate that Pinterst may be driving significant traffic to online retailers, with individuals actually looking to purchase some of the items they have discovered.

As consumers’ exposure to brands change, so to must retailers’ marketing strategies and budgets. Budgets previously allocated for print, radio, and TV advertising must make room for new outlets. But venturing into new mediums and developing new strategies brings up many questions that retailers must answer, such as:

• How do online ads affect in-store sales?
• On which social media sites, for which customers, and in which markets is advertising profitable?
• How can we best leverage new avenues of communication, such as Pinterest, to drive customers to our website and to our stores?
Answering these questions is critical to succeeding in the evolving retail climate.

The Economics of Daily Deals for Restaurants

December 13th, 2012 | Posted by CCorman in Promotions - (Comments Off on The Economics of Daily Deals for Restaurants)

NRN recently posted an article about the pros and cons of daily deals. The article cites research that reveals “restaurateurs who offered internet daily deal discounts were evenly split about whether or not they would run such promotions again and confirmed that the offers can cannibalize sales.” The article goes on to suggest that in order to make daily deals profitable, restaurants need to “devise a way to limit the deal to new users” and “structure deals to maximize overage, or customer spending above the amount of the offer, to net higher sales and better cover costs.”

A few months ago, APT CEO Anthony Bruce commented on the economics of daily deals in USA Today.  “Companies doing deals ‘get crushed economically’ when existing customers buy deals.” The article continues, “APT, which represents many Fortune 500 retail and restaurants clients including Denny’s and Wendy’s, says daily deals almost never make sense for major national chains.”

As with any marketing investment, testing these types of daily deals, while analyzing attached sales and subsequent visits, is the only way to fully understand program economics.

Understanding Labor Costs before Legislation Goes into Effect

December 11th, 2012 | Posted by retailblogadmin in Labor & Operations - (Comments Off on Understanding Labor Costs before Legislation Goes into Effect)

Employee-mandated health coverage, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is set to take effect in 2014 for businesses with more than 50 full-time employees. In fact, the average cost per employee for health coverage is nearly $6,000 (alternatively, business owners can pay a $2,000/employee fine). Although many restaurants already offer health coverage to full-time employees, a  recent article highlights the growing awareness and friction within the restaurant community concerning these impending cost increases. This additional cost will place a renewed emphasis on restaurant profitability and productivity. (more…)