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Major trend for 2014: Personalization

BY Antoinette Alexander

A recent survey, dubbed the “Retail Buying Experience,” by Experticity has revealed an expertise gap among sales associates at retail. The survey also found that consumers value expertise above all else, but 2-out-of-5 consumers said they are routinely disappointed by the lack of expertise they encounter in the stores.

The survey findings really point to one word: personalization.

Like the survey says, consumers want help with their buying decisions, and they want the retailers to be an active player in their shopping experience. They want retail sales associates who have product knowledge, can help in selecting the right products, have category knowledge and can assist in finding alternatives when the first choice is not available. They want personalization.

Expect to hear that word a lot in 2014 as personalization is clearly shaping up to be a major trend for the coming year.

For example, in exclusive interviews with Drug Store News, CVS/pharmacy executives shared how personalization is at the heart of every strategic initiative and key retail programming playing out across its enterprise, impacting every aspect of its retail operation.

Further underscoring the point are the findings of Cognizant’s “2013 Shopper Experience Study,” which is an annual survey of shoppers’ likes, dislikes and deal breakers. The survey of 2,500 consumers highlights the growing importance of capturing and analyzing every customer interaction in today’s highly competitive and fragmented retail landscape. Cognizant is a provider of information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services.

“Personalization and tailor-made campaigns are all the rage in retail campaigns and promotions. In fact, gone are the days when one-size-fits-all large promotions are applied to increase basket size. With an increase in margin pressures, marketers are trying to focus on getting that extra mile,” the Cognizant study states.

One example cited by Cognizant is Kroger, which refined its direct marketing strategy by using data from its loyalty-card program and sent unique coupon offerings to specific households. “The company believes that this level of promotional personalization offers a path toward creating a direct link to its customers that no other U.S. grocery retailer can replicate,” the Cognizant study states.

There’s no doubt that personalization is quickly rising to the top of key trends in retail. Like we said, expect to hear that word a lot more in 2014.

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Lay’s to introduce chocolate-covered potato chip

BY DSN STAFF

PLANO, Texas —  Lay’s will roll out Lay’s Wavy Potato Chips Dipped in Milk Chocolate next week, according to a report from USA Today.

The chips, priced at $3.49 for a 5-oz. bag, will only be sold at Target for a limited time through the holidays. If the product is successful it could become a permanent fixture on store shelves, according to Ram Krishnan, VP marketing at Frito-Lay. 

"When you try something drastically different, you have to walk before you can run," Krishnan said. "We wanted to test our way through this before we go big."

If consumers do latch on to chocolate-covered chips, it would allow the company to try other flavor combinations like white chocolate and peppermint, he said.

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Gordon Reid appointed as Giant-Landover president

BY Alaric DeArment

CARLISLE, Pa. – Ahold USA has appointed a former executive for Asian retailer Dairy Farm International as president of its Giant Food of Landover, Md., division, Ahold said Friday.

Ahold announced the appointment of Gordon Reid, who will begin in the new position starting on Monday and replacing interim president and Ahold USA EVP operations Bhavdeep Singh. Singh served in the role of interim president following the departure of Anthony Hucker, who resigned from Giant-Landover in September to become EVP and chief strategy officer for St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets.

Reid, who has worked in retail for more than 30 years, was most recently group director for Dairy Farm, which operates more than 5,600 stores throughout Asia, and while there, he created the company’s growth strategy for mainland China and Taiwan. Before Dairy Farm, he served in various leadership positions at Boots the Chemists and Tesco. Dairy Farm is part of the Hong Kong-based Jardine Matheson Group.

 

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