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Social shopping, mobile commerce expected to drive holiday sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

SEATTLE — The retail industry is expected to benefit from mobile commerce, free shipping offers, in-store pickup promotions and e-commerce videos during the 2014 holiday season. According to global analytics and insights firm Blueocean Intelligence, the top six digital and social media trends that will drive sales for retailers in the upcoming holiday season are:
 
1. Visual content and interactions in holiday campaigns. Retailers across industries will entice their customers with high-quality audio and video. Video and image sharing will be dominant on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
 
2. Social shopping becomes a reality. With the introduction of Twitter’s “buy” button and Facebook’s e-commerce integration, there will be a big push with social shopping. Many e-commerce giants are already piloting programs — a sign that mainstream adoption isn’t far away.
 
3. Retailers will spend more on social- and geo-targeted campaigns. Retailers will direct a significantly greater portion of their marketing budgets toward social, and especially around geo-targeting customers. Consumers can expect different offers by state and city.
 
4. Consumers will shop early. Customers don’t want to wait or only visit stores on select days, so they will take advantage of early offers that retailers push in October. As a result, retailers may eventually opt for guaranteed delivery cutoff dates closer to mid-December, rather than waiting until Christmas Eve.
 
5. Mobile commerce will experience a big turnaround. Mobile visits to e-commerce sites have boomed in recent years. For example, CVS Caremark encourages clients to refill prescriptions with an app. Kroger created an app that generates real-time offers and coupons. Home Depot has an app providing on-demand, real-time inventory and stock updates. Additionally, the newly released Amazon Fire phone and iPhone push consumers to shop via mobile devices.
 
6. Online retailers will use free shipping and in-store pickup incentives to drive more sales. A 2014 survey by UPS and ComScore found 81% of online shoppers believe free shipping is important. Complimentary in-store pickup has been found to be an effective promotion in recent years. Companies that actively communicate theses incentives via social and digital platforms have the potential to drive more sales this holiday.
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Smucker’s invites fans to ‘Spread a Little Sunshine’

BY Ryan Chavis

ORRVILLE, Ohio — Smucker's brand is utilizing a new photo promotion to celebrate the joy in making someone's day a bit brighter, no matter how small the act. Sharing these moments will let consumers win prizes each week, or win a $10,000 kitchen makeover. 
 
Participants can enter to the "Spread a Little Sunshine" promotion by uploading their photo via an entry form on Smuckers.com, Smucker's Facebook page, Iconosquare.com or by using the hashtag #SpreadALittleSunshine on Twitter or Instagram. The promotion will run from Sept. 17 through Oct. 15. For the complete rules, click here
 
The brand also will host a Twitter party on Oct. 1 at 9 p.m. with Mom It Forward, which will share Smucker's Natural Fruit Spreads recipe ideas. Twitter party participants will have a chance to win a gift basket full of Smucker's spreads, gardening tools and sunflower seeds, among other items. To join the festivities, conusmers should follow the brand on Twitter (@Smuckers) and Mom It Forward (@MomItForward) while using the hashtag #SpreadALittleSunshine.
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Loblaw expands loyalty program to No Frills stores

BY Antoinette Alexander

VANCOUVER and TORONTO — Canada’s Loblaw Cos. has announced the expansion of its loyalty program, PC Plus, to No Frills stores across Western Canada and Ontario.

PC Plus, a fully digital program, rewards customers with weekly, personalized offers. The program pays attention to what customers do, the products they buy and the offers they redeem to create a customized experience for each individual customer. The more customers load their offers and interact with the PC Plus program, the more personalized offers become, making is easier for the customer to earn more points.

"More than 6 million Canadians are already engaging with the PC Plus program, but bringing the program to a discount store like No Frills is special," said Uwe Stueckmann, SVP, marketing, Loblaw. "This rewards program is custom made for customers who want value on the items they already buy. Personalization is the unique driver of the PC Plus program."

To register for the PC Plus program, shoppers can pick up a free PC Plus card in No Frills stores and start earning points right away, or they can download the PC Plus app for iPhone, Android or Blackberry 10 smart phones. Alternatively, President's Choice Financial customers can register their PC Financial MasterCard or no-fee debit card to add the PC Plus program to their existing account. 

The PC Plus program also is available at Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Extra Foods and Your Independent Grocer locations in Western Canada; and at Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, valu-mart, Zehrs, Fortinos and Your Independent Grocer locations in Ontario.

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