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Connecting in real time

BY Rob Eder

I have long believed that the lines that traditionally divided one channel of retail from another are long gone. It’s almost like looking at the business through the Hubble telescope; like looking into the farthest reaches of the galaxy, the view is already ancient history.

And that was even before e-commerce was much of a factor.

In real time, I believe the relationship between the customer and the retailer is evolving at a rate much faster than our ability to measure it.

According to new research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, to optimize against today’s consumer requires a “total retail” view of the business.
 
“It’s more about customer centricity than channel centricity,” said Tom Johnson, advisory principal PwC Consumer Practice. “It drives the next level of a connected experience, which could play out in terms of personalization; it could include loyalty; it could start to include some customization.”

What has been largely overlooked, according to Johnson and the PwC research, is a need to reinvent the stores “around total retail and the customer-centric approach,” and with that, to maximize sales across all channels — stores, web, mobile and social.

Some eye-openers from the report:

  • Customers are reducing the number of brands they shop — both online and physical stores. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of consumers who said they only shopped with one retailer over the last 12 months through any channel climbed from 8% to 15%.
  • Favorite retailers are a dime-a-dozen. If their favorite retailer shut down their closest store, 42% of consumers said they would find the next closest retailer.
  • Consumers want two-way engagement when it comes to social media — they don’t want their favorite brand to just speak at them, but to hear them as well. That’s where customization can play a stronger role; 61% said attractive deals are what attract them to a brand’s social media presence.

That had me thinking about some other recent news — the agreement between Amazon and Twitter that will allow Twitter users to shop directly from posts on the micro-blogging site by replying with the hashtag “#AmazonCart.” It’s part of a push to add e-commerce options for Twitter advertisers, according to a Bloomberg report.

Twitter won’t make any money off the purchases, but it will keep users on the site longer, and also it will learn a lot more about its users’ interests and shopping habits. That will help it sell more ads long term.

Welcome to the word of total retail. Just don’t get used to it. Because by the time you do, it will have changed again.

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Budweiser’s patriotic motif signals continuing support of military families

BY Ryan Chavis

ST. LOUIS — Budweiser’s limited-edition, red, white and blue cans and bottles have started arriving on store shelves just in time for Memorial Day. The packaging also marks the brand’s commitment to assisting military families: Budweiser and its wholesaler family will donate more than $3 million to the Folds of Honor Foundation.

Beginning now through Aug. 15, fans can enter a code contained inside specially marked packages of Budweiser on Budweiser.com/donate, which will trigger a $1 donation to Folds of Honor. Budweiser and its wholesalers have managed to raise almost $10 million for military families since first partnering with the organization in 2010.

"The most important thing we as Americans can do is let military families know we haven’t forgotten the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made for our freedom," said Major Dan Rooney, founder, Folds of Honor Foundation. "Thanks to the longstanding commitment of Budweiser and its network of wholesalers, thousands of people have been able to pursue their dreams and recognize achievements that may have before seemed impossible."

Budweiser also is encouraging consumers to support military families through a series of auctions on Charitybuzz.com. Bids can be placed on exclusive experiences from Budweiser, which range from a go-cart race with Kevin Harvick to tickets to a MLB All-Star game.

"Budweiser celebrates America and our military every single day, but this summer is especially important as we welcome thousands of troops home from overseas," said Brian Perkins, VP Budweiser. "Our ultimate goal is to make it possible for everyone to say thank you, whether it’s by triggering a donation to Folds of Honor with a case of Budweiser, bidding on an auction item or attending an event with the Budweiser Clydesdales. The sacrifices made by our military and their families are deserving of a nationwide salute."

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CDC, U.S. Public Health Service advise use of daily HIV-prevention pill among at-risk populations

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday released guidance advising practitioners to offer an HIV prevention pill to healthy individuals who are at high-risk for an HIV infection, according to published reports. 

The guidelines, issued in conjunction with the U.S. Public Health Service, involve the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis, a strategy in which at-risk individuals take a daily dose of an antiretroviral drug to reduce their risk of HIV infection.

The guidelines replace interim guidance that emerged after studies showed PrEP to be effective in different patient populations.

 

 

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