Wednesday Jan 11, 2012

ARTS Social Retailing Blueprint

At ARTS, we focus on helping retailers succeed with using technology.  Technology can be a competitive advantage, but it can also hold companies back if its allowed to grow stale.  Its important for every retailer to stay abreast of emerging technologies, and understand how adoption may or may not benefit the business. Using social media is the latest topic being addressed by ARTS.

The ARTS Social Retailing Blueprint is a 143-page whitepaper that describes the use of social media by the retail industry.  It includes ten specific tactics, examples of those tactics in use, and suggestions on organizational alignment.  The document was written by representatives from the following companies: 8th Bridge, MicroStrategy, Verizon, Cisco, IBM, Oracle Retail, Versatil, Epson, SAP, Pier 1 Imports, Meru Networks, Red Prairie, Safeway, Criti, Cellpoint Mobile, and Push Science (in no particular order). 

Below is my favorite part of the blueprint, a summary of the ten tactics on a maturity scale.  Retailers should first determine which of the ten tactics makes sense for their business, then for each tactic there are varying levels of maturity.  Retailers will ideally start with the Novice level and grow to the right toward Advanced.

If you're having trouble reading this eye-chart, click here for the raw version in which you can zoom.

At the ARTS User Conference last year, I delivered a presentation on the Social Blueprint which you can find here. Two other great articles are at the NRF Big Blog and RIS News.

There is no perfect recipe for social retailing, so its necessary for each retailer to experiment to find what works for them.  Also, set realistic expectations for your social media efforts.  Its unrealistic to think you'll substantially increase sales by creating a Facebook page, for example.  Social media campaigns are an investment in your relationship with your customers, so give it some time to grow and strengthen.  There is great potential for a relatively small investment.

Tuesday Jan 10, 2012

Retail Orphan Initiative

A few years back we had the CIO of SuperValu, Paul Singer, speak at Oracle Open World in the retail track.  While I was expecting the usual stories about retail IT, Paul surprised everyone by showing a very inspiring video about the benefits and importance of adoption.  Not only was Paul an adoptive parent, but he used his influential positions at SuperValu and Target to be an advocate for kids.

I recall two people in the audience, Greg Buzek and Jeff Roster, both analysts for the retail industry, being moved by Paul's passion.  It wasn't long before they helped form the Retail Orphan Initiative along with Marc Millstein and Rose Spicer.  The organization, called RetailROI for short, raises funds from the retail community for the benefit of orphans all around the world.  This is the third year for the SuperSaturday session at the NRF Big Show, a very informative event that doubles as a fundraiser.

Oracle's Rose Spicer, who is also on RetailROI's board of advisors, has collaborated with Build-A-Bear to raise awareness and funds for RetailROI at NRF.  On Monday morning she and many customers will meet at the local Build-A-Bear to create 150 stuffed animals that will be donated to New York orphans in partnership with the KIDS organization. 

Additionally, anyone that donates $20 to RetailROI in the Oracle booth will receive one of the bears pictured above.  With just 2,000 donations, RetailROI will get $40,000 which will support 1,000 kids in Malawi.  As you can see, there are several opportunities to support this worthy cause next week during the Big Show.


David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.

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