Tag Archives: Trends

grocery channel- shopper trends

Worth reading: a fine article by Canadian Grocer on shopper trends:



How many #trends can you spot?

A fine CSA article calls your attention to several trend-worthy #retail concepts.


Feel free to make your own notes on which particular ‘macro’ trends are driving or supporting each of these retail concepts eg CSR (charitable or community involvement), transparency, authentication, customized, artisan or locally crafted, VIP treatment, etc.

If that challenge seems like too much work (or if you’re on a NoThinkingRequired sabbatical), then maybe this article will be less taxing; just two of the above listed trends are driving this new Roots foray:



Oslo & Steady wins the race

3 new sources of insight on #Retail trends fyi!

10 new ideas or approaches to inspire readers to try new methods, service a different kind of customer, give a new kind of retail experience


An upcoming ‘call for ideas’ summit on etail-retail- virtual shopping, sponsored by WalM…


Finally, an example of how to not REACT to trends, but get ahead of them by a Canadian-based retailer that’s imo a benchmark to admire.


C-stores by definition are positioned based on “convenience” – consider how treacherous that is!  Examples:

  • when Grocery stores opened late, they lost an advantage;
  • when weed became legally available to millions of Canadian  “glaucoma sufferers” (cough cough…) C-stores Dorito & RollingPaper sales took a ‘hit’;
  • when tobacco smoking incidence fell, C-store visits fell

Again & again, C-stores adapted: seizing new opportunities to sell throwaway cellphones & phone cards, lottery tickets, decent coffee, fresh meals, last-minute gifts & cards, and more. Couche-tard is investing to test other ways to drive shoppers to C-stores in Norway, presumably a lead market for e-vehicles.

Consider: many C-stores have traditionally been linked to (located in conjunction with) gassing up a vehicle. If consumers instead charge up their e-vehicle at home at night, what’s to become of C-stores?

Couche-tard is too smart to wait & see; the savvy retailer is getting ahead by trying & measuring different approaches. As a marketer, I applaud this! As an R&D guy, I’ve mixed feelings about a country test market. The scale is terrific, however everything is oh-so-readable… to the competition. My bet is that this move hasn’t escaped the attention of Couch-tard’s global rival, 7-Eleven. Quite possible that right now, in Irving TX and Chiyoda, Japan, note-takers are busily tuning into “Lillehammer’ on Netflix- and managers are booking tickets for a prolonged stay in Norway. They simply can’t ‘affiord’ not to know what Couche-tard is trying.


Want to be a Research Analyst? Then read Sarah!

Fine blog below; the articulate, diligent Sarah Schmidt (I recommend you follow her!) gathers multiple points of view on the role of Research Analyst.

imo one surprise is how many times you see the same sentiments echoed.

Analysts are talented people and, over the next few years, the industry needs many more of them. Have you got what it takes?  If so, the jobs will be there!


Demographics: Change is Gonna Come

Will your  staffers be humming Dylan? There’s a growing chance they will.

Demographic ‘changes are coming’ -it shouldn’t be a shock.  Are those changes working in your favour? your organization’s favour?

Demographics move so slowly & are so well monitored that some organizations are unhurried to act; they prioritize reacting to short term market change instead. Managers/Marketers/Retailers tend to be recognized, rewarded, feted for ‘reactive’ skills such as acting on shifts in daily public sentiment (which can ‘turn’ on a brand in a moment) or fashion taste (crocs in, uggs in, crocs, out, uggs out,…) or labour swings (outsourcing to freelancers, crowdsourcing, etc).

However, demographics are key b/c they’ll affect who will be on your team, who will be your customers, how you convey your message, which kinds of products & services are more likely to succeed.  And demographic changes, being so comparatively slow paced & inevitable, play the role of the warm water in a soon-to-be boiling pot. Just cuz change is slow doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be recognized and dealt with. Yet many otherwise-smart organizations fail to make fundamental necessary ‘evolutionary’ changes.

One college I know of, has seen it’s ‘Full-Time’ education arm add more & more in-demand ‘applied’ graduate certificates. The college now emphasizes a faculty’s  industry experience & contacts, ensures students earn industry accreditation  and even makes some courses available on Friday evenings & Saturdays. That shows some demographically-inspired smarts! Such traits have relevant appeal for the rising (& demographically driven) number of ‘mid-career re-education’ seekers. But this same college remains reluctant to face an ever-warming-water fact- ie THIS IS THE NEW REALITY! They won’t admit that consumers seeking mid-career retraining see the college as 1 brand, not 2 schools: ‘Continuing Education’ and ‘Full-Time’??? What dat?!?! At present, the public must navigate two completely separate systems- course calendars, websites, faculty are all 100% separate. The left hand & the right hand of 1 college brand don’t know the other exists. Consumers just want the college’s retaining/ reeducation options to be clear; why must they face a brand with 2 completely different bureaucracies, advertisements, sets of faculty, etc- when courses are offered by the same brand, on the same premises, at only slightly different times of day, days or the week? To consumers seeking re-education option clarity, this is baffling.

But, just b/c that organization won’t react to the ever-warming water, that doesn’t mean YOU should ignore demographic & long term societal changes. Ergo, a few highlights on this fine CBC story:

  • Atlantic Canada (now joins parts of Vancouver Island as) Lead Market for Seniors.
  • More people 65+ than children in Canada now.
  • Boomers are gobbling up jobs, and working later into life.

Enjoy! And consider what changes are a coming for your organization given these slow-churning shifts.




Research Trends to ponder

Key #Research Trends listed by Sarah Schmidt below, are pretty much the same as the ones about which I’ve cautioned students on for years. Nice to see an engaged, connected, objective professional also say these things!


Among my longstanding favourites on her list (Sarah: pls pardon my paraphrasing):

  • Human filtering of data: the value of brevity in a sea of data detail!;
  • a growing role for Qual to answer the key question“Why?”;
  • the ‘Quantification of Qual’ -sentiment analysis, seeded online stimuli, digital ethnography,…
  • the growing potential role of Artificial Intelligence to help find meaning, identify relationships, predict behaviour,…
  • growth of geo-targeted mobile research (& ethical issues it raises!);
  • growing role of Observation (& the Ethical issues THAT raises);
  • the need for ‘poll’ oversight (too Motive-susceptible & sloppy; thankfully MRIA is onto this!);
  • online LIVE research reports (Q-Fi does a fine job here);
  • Continuous / longitudinal research (beyond panels);
  • Agencies and software that offers customizing over canned; and
  • The Growing need to (still!) invest in Secondary (Desk) Research

It’s this last point I’d like students & alumni to pay close attention to. For your career’s sake, stay atop your industry by carefully monitoring lead markets – eg Watch Vancouver Island, Italy or Japan for products & services targeting the Elderly. Watch Japan for Vending. Watch South Korea for Personal Tech. Watch California for Electric Motor Vehicles.

What makes these places become Lead Markets can be factors that are demographic (aging pop), social/lifestyle, economic policy/investment (California’s  state-wide vehicle plug & drive network), related-Industry expertise (AI, programming, entertainment,…) or a combination of these factors eg Japan leads Vending not just due to demography (few young people, hence wage costs escalate) and not just industrial policy/expertise (Auto sector automation –> halo effect on Vending) but also due to Busy Work/Commute Lifestyles (busy to work, busy at work, busy commute—> life’s too busy to wait for store staff, and so Vending’s time-saving is key).

My Reco: 1. Identify the Lead market in your industry. 2. Do desk research on it to find what factors brought it to be at the apex. 3. Monitor it & be ready for the moment you see the boss’s boss’s boss in the elevator & she asks: “So… you’re one of the new cohort- got any new ideas for us?”

Your moment is coming; be ready! Be dedicated to proactive Secondary  research!