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American Greetings adds warm, fuzzy love to Valentine’s Day

BY Gisselle Gaitan

American Greetings is looking to fill consumers hearts with Valentine’s Day cheer, following the unveiling of their newest collection to celebrate the holiday. The Warm Fuzzy Love collection is a keepsake and card in one, the Cleveland, Ohio-based company said.

Each heart-shaped pouch features googly eyes attached to bright, colorful fur. When the zipper on the back of the heart is opened, a silly serenade begins while a mini-card is revealed. The card is available in red, pink and purple colors and each of the three choices offers a different well-known song.

“Consumers fell in love with the Warm Fuzzy concept as gift bags and birthday cards, so we are proud to bring the furry fun and heartfelt sentiments to life for Valentine’s Day,” Carol Miller, vice president of corporate innovation at American Greetings, said. “While Valentine’s Day is predominantly a classic, romantic holiday in nature, consumers still love a good surprise!”

The Warm Fuzzy Love cards can be found in participating drug chains, grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide as well as in American Greetings and Carlton Cards retail stores.

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Own brand strategy trumps NBE, Daymon analysis finds

BY Michael Johnsen

With 81% of shoppers now buying private label products on every or almost every shopping trip, it’s no surprise that own brands are positioned to disrupt the industry.

“Private brands have entered a renaissance period that has allowed them to become more differentiated than ever before,” Jim Holbrook, CEO, Daymon, said. “We are seeing that retailers with distinctive, one-of-a-kind private brands will survive and thrive, while those with national brand equivalents will struggle as competitive pressures mount.”

The Stamford, Conn.-based retail analysis firm on Monday published its first-ever Private Brand Intelligence Report, providing a “State of the Industry” benchmark analysis on how private brands stack up against national brands based on proprietary survey data, category research from Daymon analysts and insights from experts under the Daymon umbrella.

And 2017 was a pivotal year, the report noted, as many retailers invested in their private label programs to deliver true differentiation, not just mere imitation. That may be one of the bigger reasons behind the success of Kroger’s Simple Truth, for example, which earlier this month reached a $2 billion benchmark in own brand sales.

According to the report, 85% of the 2,000 shoppers surveyed trust private brand products at least as much as national brands. Reinforcing that consumer trust in private label is the fact that store brand sales have increased by 4%, or eight times more, than national brand sales.

And expect that gap between national brand growth and private label growth to continue to expand. According to that survey, 74% of consumers believe store brands today provide the bigger bang for the buck, with 61% attesting to the improvement in quality across own brand selections. More than half, or 53% of shoppers, specifically look for a private brand option before making a purchase.

“Shoppers today are looking for ways to be disloyal,” Holbrook noted. “They aren’t interested in seeing the same thing; they are demanding better service, selection and experience.”

The most significant pocket of opportunity might be health and wellness, according to the report. It’s the fastest growing segment within private brand and in 2017 was marked as a $3.7 trillion opportunity globally.

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FMI/Nielsen: Online will dominate grocery by 2022

BY Michael Johnsen

Retailers who are ready to bridge the gap between their consumers and their stores through delivery or pick-up will be real winners in the coming years, because according to the “Digitally Engaged Food Shopper” study, in as few as five years 70% of consumers will be grocery shopping online.

The estimated $100 billion spend, which is equivalent to every U.S. household spending $850 online for food and beverage annually, may occur as soon as 2022.

“The grocery industry is currently in the age of digital experimentation, where the roadmap on how to navigate and achieve real and profitable growth continues to evolve,” Chris Morley, U.S. President FMCG and Retail, Nielsen, said. “While analytics will continue to be critical for retailers and manufacturers to understand the digitally engaged food shopper on a deeper level, a collaborative approach to balancing physical and digital sales strategies is the key to unlocking omnichannel success.”

The Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen shared these insights on Monday at the FMI Midwinter Conference in Miami, Fla. Building on the joint research findings issued in 2017, this set of insights examines what food and beverage manufacturers and brick-and-mortar retailers need to do to ready themselves for the rising digital grocery landscape, identifying six digital imperatives for omnichannel success.

Key findings from this year’s study show that omnichannel shopping has passed the tipping point with online grocery shopping on an accelerated path to industry saturation. The first year of research predicted that consumer online food and beverage spend could reach $100 billion by 2025. Today, FMI and Nielsen report that the pace of change and adoption has far outrun initial predictions, where the pervasiveness of online engagement could cut the timeline by as much as half.

The six organizational imperatives that can help retailers and manufacturers accelerate their omnichannel success are:

  1. Align Organizational Structures for Omnichannel Success: Integrate digital offerings in parallel with brick-and-mortar operations;
  2. Address Discrepant Datasets: Scrub master data files for discrepancies; strength in data and accuracy is a critical component to successfully support online sale efforts;
  3. Integrate Forecasts to Increase Operational Efficiencies: Integrate online and offline forecasting so the right amount of inventory is available to meet orders through either channel;
  4. Optimize Shopper Insights: Bring retailer and manufacturer shopper information together into a single, comprehensive view of customer insights;
  5. Improve Marketing and Promotions: Optimize the management of omnichannel marketing and promotions; and
  6. Merge Digital and In-Store Shelf Capabilities: Manage the physical shelf and its digital counterpart to create a seamless shopping experience, where consumers see the same information both on or offline.

“People, process and technology are the trifecta for a true omnichannel collaboration model,” said FMI chief collaboration officer Mark Baum. “No matter the maturity stage, food retailers and their CPG business partners will find value in leveraging these six organizational imperatives as they respond for a more digitally engaged consumer.”

 

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