July 2007 - Emerging Trends for Retailers

Emerging Trends for Retailers

By Sieglinde Friedman

ERA, in its continuing efforts to offer its members the latest research on emerging trends and in concert with Forrester Research, offers 26 new research papers that ERA members may access on the member-only website. Topics include: advertising campaigns that drive web traffic; social media boosting e-business; mobile technology; the importance of affiliate marketing-and many more. These reports underscore ERA’s commitment to its retailers’ ability to increase their revenues, engage in best practices and plan for the future. We encourage all members to take advantage of this significant benefit.

In addition, from time to time there are opportunities for members to join live teleconferences with Forrester researchers to discuss specific trends. We hope you will find this benefit of value. Following are abstracts of two recent Forrester reports.

In which channels do you anticipate DRTV marketers will increase their digital investments during the next 12 months?* (by % of respondents)
Channel % of Respondents
SEO/SEM
87%
E-mail 81%
Online video/rich media 74%
Social networking 61%
Microsite development 48%
Affiliate advertising 39%
Mobile 32%
*Note: participants were allowed to choose multiple answers

As more and more consumers turn to the Internet to shop, one of the significant issues affecting retailers is the increase in multichannel consumers. These consumers bring new expectations to shopping and because they demand a reliable and unwavering voice from retailers, chief information officers and channel managers are forced to consider many solutions in order to bridge channels and integrate data and services across customer touch-points; the report “Inevitable Convergence of Retail Channels,” discusses this very issue.

Another recent study, “How to Master Online Merchandising,” discusses the differences between traditional and online merchandising. Online merchandising has more to do with the marketing of a selection of products on a site, and incorporates the tools or technologies that more closely connect to or educate users about a product or group of products. Retailers must improve key elements of the practice, including the overall customer experience, conversion rates and usability. In addition, seven key themes emerged: personalization, customer service, ease of navigation, cross-sells and upsells, real estate optimization, inventory turn optimization and multichannel integration.

ERA also commissioned a study by Winterberry Group, launched at the ERA European Conference. Winterberry Group gathered data on the convergence of direct response television and emerging media and analyzed its continuing impact on multichannel execution efforts. This study clearly illustrates measurable multichannel execution trends from the early part of this decade through the current period, with forward-looking estimates based upon forecast trends including the following interactive categories: affiliate marketing, e-mail, mobile, online display, rich media (including video on demand as video streaming or downloadable technology), search and social networking. Please see the accompanying charts for a synopsis of their findings.

Finally, over the last two years, ERA has created an opportunity to assist members in evaluating the success of their campaigns with the Media Performance Report Card. This program permits members to rate long- and short-form categories including beauty, customer acquisition, service providers, entertainment, fitness/health, hardware, electronics, housewares, ingestibles, self-improvement and financial services. On a monthly basis, each media company grades categories on a scale and the results are available to ERA members.

Research, trend-spotting and data are essential elements to increasing members’ sales, customer satisfaction and retention. From the research noted above to educational sessions to networking, ERA is committed to ensuring that your business is successful.

New Dues, New Direction
After a comprehensive research and analysis process, the Board of Directors of ERA recently approved a new dues structure that was created to grow the ranks of retailers and marketers. ERA would like to thank all of the members who participated in this process.

In the course of surveying our members, ERA determined that the consensus of the allied membership was that the organization should expand the retailer/marketer membership sector. Thus, the main changes to the dues structure will be occurring on the retailer/marketer side and the allied membership rates will remain largely the same.

DEFINING MEMBER CATEGORIES

  • Retailer Member: a company that sells products/services directly to the consumer and sometimes owns the product/services.
  • Marketer Member: a company that owns and sells their own products/services directly to the consumer.
  • Allied Member: a company that provides services to retailers and marketers.
  • Sole Proprietor: a business in any of the three above categories with just one employee.

NEW RETAILER AND MARKETER RATES
The new rates are as follows:

First Time Member $1,900[i]
Sole Proprietor $1,500
Revenues $0 - $5 Million $2,500
Revenues $5 - $10 Million $5,000
Revenues $10 Million - $20 Million $7,500
Revenues $20 Million - $30 Million $9,800
Revenues $30 Million - $40 Million $11,800
Revenues $40 Million - $60 Million $14,250
Revenues exceeding $60 Million $25,000[ii]

As a further enticement, first time members will receive one full registration to the next ERA Annual Convention in Las Vegas. This is in addition to the core benefits of government advocacy, education, research, networking events and the newsletter-among other things-afforded to all members. ERA is expanding and improving the benefits afforded to our members with industry-tailored services, a new member mentoring program, expanded networking opportunities, publications and more. All of this is geared toward saving money and accelerating business for our members.

As the trade association for leaders of the direct-to-consumer industry, ERA is always looking for ways to support the industry and our members. This new dues structure and expanded benefits program is just one of the exciting changes we have in store. Stay tuned for more to come!

[i] Introductory membership is available only to retailers/marketers who have never been an ERA member. [ii] Platinum members receive additional exclusive benefits. For information, please contact Robin Greenspan at (800) 897-6462, x105 or [email protected]

Sieglinde Friedman is ERA’s vice president, board & strategy. She can be reached at (703) 908-1021 or via e-mail at [email protected].

 

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