Guest blog by Jennifer Borden

We’re a few months removed from the holidays and, once again, gift cards were one of the top gift items of the season. From Yankee Swaps to the last minute gift for your babysitter, it’s easy to understand why: they’re convenient and one size fits all. But the question is, how many of those cards will never be redeemed? Despite their popularity, it’s projected that $2 billion of gift cards went unused in 2012. That’s unfortunate for the recipient of the gift card. But what about the retailer?

Guest Blog by Saeed Sikiru

With the increase usage of mobile gadgets with built-in web browsers in them, there’s no better time to go digital than this era. Your products catalog may no longer be as effective as it used to. According to studies gleaned by eMarketer, mobile shopping apps may have some influence in your relationship with your customers. Additionally, mobile device users revealed that utilizing a shopping app enhanced their relationship with their favorite brands. And most of them liked the brand even more after using a shopping app.

Guest Blog by Suzie Brown

Deals and savings are now a part of consumers’ regular shopping experience as they seek savings from multiple sources and digital deals continue to evolve. They are gaining attention in the media and among consumers as interest in deal seeking remains strong. Just as consumers are exploring new ways to get a deal, marketers also are testing various methods to attract today’s shopper. There will continue to be a blend of traditional and new media as consumers seek value in planning their purchases.

Guest Blog by David Zahn

Conventional wisdom in retailers and FMCG manufacturers focuses on growing the business by maximizing market share and increasing conversion among existing shoppers /consumers.  By targeting this population, it is assumed to be more efficient and productive than trying to convince those do not currently shop at a store or in a category to become shoppers at that outlet or in that aisle. However, for REAL growth to occur, we have to actually leverage the marketplace where we have been hesitant to go – at NON-CONSUMPTION. Historically and conventionally, we have believed that it is harder to convert a NON-BUYER into a BUYER than it is to get someone to switch. And, while there is both intuitive logic to that and plenty of proof to lean on; that does not grow the market in total.

Guest Blog by Steve Wellen

Mobile retail was sometimes perceived as a bandwagon, and it has turned out to be the boat that no one can afford to miss. Now, retailers are discovering that even with a mobile site, they need better data to turn opportunity into revenue. Back in 2009, Forrester Research Group forecasted that online retail would reach $229 billion in 2013. It was a cautiously optimistic gauge that had us all crossing our fingers in the heat of America’s mini-Depression.

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