‘Smart’ packaging opens digital opportunities for food brands

As noted in our recent trend report on food, packaging can be a gateway to more information and content via QR codes and similar technologies. The idea isn’t new (especially in some markets), but consumers are only gradually taking to it—5 percent of American adults with a mobile phone scan any kind of 2D barcode, up from 1 percent in 2010, according to a recent Forrester study—and brands are still testing ideas around it.

Games are one value offering. In the U.K., Cadbury uses Blippar technology to enable augmented reality-style games on chocolate bar packaging. Tic Tac recently launched an AR game in which the mint box serves as background as the player tosses mints into the mouth of a 3-D character. Codes can also lead consumers to more information, like recipes or sourcing. Kraft recently added QR codes to several cheese products, giving users ideas about how to use them. In Vancouver, Foodtree is teaming up with restaurants to offer QR codes on menus that tell diners about where ingredients come from.

Another idea: General Mills’ CMO suggested to USA Today that the traditional surprise inside a cereal box could become a phone-based “visual surprise.” The cereal box is an appealing platform, with plenty of real estate and a spot in front of people eating breakfast. Last year Kellogg’s saw a respectable response to QR codes on its newly launched Crunchy Nut cereal in the U.S.

Watch for a wave of experimentation from brands seeking to tap new opportunities to extend their message and create a new channel for everything from coupons and loyalty rewards to education and entertainment. See “What’s Cooking?” for additional examples.

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Black Friday Sales Hits Record, Retail traffic and Foot-falls up.

Preliminary reports for Black Friday indicate that retailers may have seen their strongest sales ever during the all-important kick-off to the holiday shopping season.

black friday sales

Retail sales on Black Friday climbed 6.6% this year to an estimated $11.4 billion, according to ShopperTrak, which tracks foot traffic at malls and stores. Last year, sales climbed just 0.3% to $10.7 billion, which was a record one-day sales amount at the time, according to the company.

“This is the largest year-over-year gain in ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate for Black Friday since the 8.3 percent increase we saw between 2007 and 2006,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. “Still, it’s just one day. It remains to be seen whether consumers will sustain this behavior through the holiday shopping season.”

However, sales have been strong throughout the entire month of November with retailers rolling out holiday deals earlier than ever. In the two weeks leading up to the week of Black Friday, retail sales were up 3.6% and 3.8%, respectively, ShopperTrak reported.

“Retailers continue to stretch out Black Friday weekend by enticing shoppers with doorbuster deals weeks in advance,” said Martin.

Online sales have also proven to be strong, with many big-box retailers and department stores offering deals online earlier this year.

Black Friday online sales surge 24%

Online sales were up 39.3% on Thanksgiving Day and 24.3% on Black Friday compared to the same days last year, according to IBM’s (IBM,Fortune 500) Coremetrics, which tracks real-time data from 500 retailers in the apparel, department store, health and beauty and home goods categories.

“This year marked Thanksgiving’s emergence as the first big spending day of the 2011 holiday season with a record number of consumers shifting their focus from turkey to tablets and the search for the best deals,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer at IBM’s Smarter Commerce division.

Consumers also spent slightly more than they did last year, although they spent most of that money on themselves. According to NPD Group consumers spent about 3% more on purchases during Black Friday. However, about 44% were self purchases up from 33% last year, the research group said.

Retail traffic on Black Friday up 2%

Total US visits to the top 500 Retail websites increased 2% on Black Friday as compared to 2010 and received more than 173 million US visits. Traffic has increased each day leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday and the total visits dipped slightly (-1%) on Black Friday compared Thanksgiving Day 2011. Early Black Friday sales resulted in a shift of online traffic, which climbed prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, however, continued heavy promotional activity helped to drive significant online traffic on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. While Black Friday has been the top day for online retail traffic over the past two years, warm weather and early store openings encouraged shoppers to go online sooner this season.
DMS Retail 500 11-25-2011.png

Among the categories driving the growth in traffic on Black Friday were Department Stores (e.g. Amazon and Wal-Mart) Apparel & Accessories, Appliances & Electronics (e.g. Best Buy) and Video & Games (e.g. Game Stop).
DMS Retail Categories 11-25-2011.png

Below is a list of the top visited retail sites on Black Friday:
DMS Retail 500 Sites 11-25-2011.png

Many of the major retail websites experienced growth on Black Friday, including Amazon, Best Buy, JC Penney, Sears and Kohl’s. Amazon.com was the most visited website on Black Friday for the 7th year in a row.

Orange shop-in-shop heading for HMV stores.

Orange and HMV are teaming up to promote Orange products and services via store-in-store units in HMV stores.

Dedicated Orange ‘show and sell’ spaces will be situated in the entertainment retailer’s stores, with a focus on music, games and video mobile handsets and services.

The deal will extend Orange UK’s retail presence and contribute to taking the brand past the 400 high street stores landmark. It also underlines HMV’s growing interest in the mobile and digital marketplace as it continues to diversify its product mix and develop as a multi-channel brand.

A first wave of up to 15 concession stores will be rolled out from June 2009, with the HMV stores in Glasgow, Plymouth and Teesside earmarked as the first to incorporate an Orange offer. Up to 100 locations have been earmarked to take the store-in-store approach by Christmas.

“This deal marks the coming together of two of Britain’s biggest and most iconic high street brands,” Orange UK chief executive Tom Alexander. “Moving beyond mobile and into media and entertainment is a key part of our future, and joining forces with such an iconic and well-loved brand as HMV allows us to mark our clear intention in this area, while expanding our presence on the high street.

“HMV has been diversifying and extending its customer offer, which is increasingly becoming a multi-channel one with a growing emphasis on technology and new media,” says HMV chief executive Simon Fox. “I am delighted to welcome Orange into our stores – our brands reflect a shared passion for bringing entertainment content to life, and complement each other well.”

Media Magic to offer retail platform for mobile users

The Maharashtra-based software company Mobile Magic has announced the launch of a retail service under the name Media Magic.

The service would offer a retail platform to mobile users for legal content such as games, applications, movies and music, in an offline format.

Media Magic would help in legalising the selling and buying process of content for the mobile users with the offline channel.

The primary focus of the company will be on the distribution model through retail outlets since the country has very low broadband penetration. The company has set a target of having over 10,000 retail outlets in place, which will be serviced by the distributors across the country.

Hungama Mobile would have an exclusive tie up with Media Magic to distribute Hungama’s content through its retail platform. Besides, Shemaroo Entertainment will provide the movie content to the company’s retail initiative through a strategic tie-up.

“With this initiative of Media Magic, mobile consumers will now enjoy rich content such as movies, music, games and applications in the most affordable and convenient way for the first time in India,” said Vijay Singh, President & CEO, Media Magic Retail Pvt Ltd.

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