Friday, February 24, 2012

Woolworths Launches First Virtual Australian Supermarket

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Zenith Comment: Obviously not a new concept but still interesting to see how the world we live in is changing across different countries.  This is also top of mind for us as we'll be looking at case studies on digital and retail for the Regional Marketing meeting next month.

Supermarket goliath Woolworths is stepping up its multichannel strategy by launching virtual stores at busy Sydney and Melbourne train stations.
In a bid to capitalise on consumers’ increasing need for convenient and time efficient solutions, Woolworths has combined public transport and grocery shopping by taking online ordering to a station near you…well to stations in the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs anyway. The retailer has launched its first virtual store in Sydney last night, with Melbourne to follow today, claiming this to be a first for Australian supermarkets.
Currently stocking 120 different products, the first virtual store is located on the concourse level of Sydney’s Town Hall station, between the Park Street and George Street exits, with Melbourne’s store being showcased at Flinders Street Station. Potential customers are able to go ‘in store’ and  browse a range of product photos, each marked with a barcode or QR code. Using the Woolworths’ Android or iPhone app to  scan the codes of wanted product, orders are then placed and finalised via woolworths’ online store, with the orders being filled by bricks and mortar shops close to the delivery address. The retailer’s usual $30 online minimum order value and delivery charges still apply.
“The virtual supermarket wall is just one idea we are working on to make our customers’ lives easier,” said Tjeerd Jegen, Woolworths Director of Supermarkets. ”The virtual supermarket will be at Town Hall for a week and we will take feedback from customers throughout this time.  This experience will provide us with important information on how we can develop this concept into the future.”
Mixing train stations and shopping certainly isn’t new – just look to Japan, where this has been done for years. In fact in some stations, the shopping is so good that the station mall is seen as a destination in itself.  While the various Japanese rail companies don’t employ this as a tactic to distract from late trains (anybody that has taken a subway ride in Japan knows how rare an occurrence this is), perhaps Australian public transport companies are hoping that if delayed passengers feel they can put that wasted time to some use, then any consequent backlash won’t be so problematic.
Woolworths Virtual Store at Flinders Street Station, Melbourne
While Woolworths’ presence at Flinders Street station may be unassuming, hidden behind a low fence, people sitting on benches and a row of parked motorcycles, the supermarket giant is hoping its impact will be big.
Woolworths' Virtual Store at Flinders Street Station, Melbourne
Product Wall at Woolworths' Virtual Store at Flinders Street Station, Melbourne
The retailer’s reps manning the 4X1 metre set-up told PowerRetail the Flinders Street Station store will be operational for two weeks, after which time the product on shelves will be changed and rotated according to customer feedback and sales results via this channel.
PowerRetail was also told that once a shopper has downloaded the updated Woolworths app, the app can be used to scan barcodes on items at home or office in order to get a shopping list started to help facilitate online shopping via Woolworths.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Is reality catching up to Facebook f-commerce dreams?

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Zenith Comment:  Following on from the recent post on Nike launching their Facebook store I came across this article and thought it was interesting as some brands have decided against f-commerce as it wasn't showing ROI.  However, it does make a good point on brands that are experimenting now will be better placed if / when f-commerce takes off.

Each month, hundreds of millions of individuals around the world log on to Facebook and this year, the world's largest social network will likely register its billionth user account.

That, for obvious reasons, has made Facebook an attractive platform for businesses and marketers looking to reach consumers.
Following the adage: 'Go where the users are', companies have flocked to Facebook, and they've increasingly been trying to do more with their Facebook presences in an effort to get the maximum ROI out of the social networking experience.
For some companies, doing more has meant investing in Facebook commerce, or f-commerce as it is widely referred to. The concept is simple - instead of forcing consumers to go to your website to buy your wares, you can hawk them through storefronts on Facebook, eliminating the need for consumers to leave their favorite hangout.
But many of those storefronts are now being shuttered according to a report by Bloomberg. Major brands like Gap, Old Navy, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and Banana Republic are among those that have decided that f-commerce wasn't worth it.
The reason? For video game Gamestop, which has some 3.5m fans on its Facebook Page, the ROI simply wasn't there. "We just didn’t get the return on investment we needed from the Facebook market, so we shut it down pretty quickly," Gamestop VP of marketing Ashley Sheetz told Bloomberg.
In retrospect, the fact that some of the f-commerce hype is subsiding isn't entirely surprising. As Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru observes, selling to consumers on Facebook is "like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar." In other words, it's not always a good combination.
That, however, never seemed to bother Facebook and many other observers. Facebook largely appears to believe that it can do just about anything because "this is where people are hanging out." And some went so far as to predict that social commerce would be a $30bn per year business by 2015, with Facebook accounting for much of the sales.
The good news for the companies that experimented with f-commerce is that early experimentation is usually a good thing. Not everything works, but it's better to try and find out than to sit on the sidelines and risk missing out on something that could have positively impacted the business. In most cases, the amount of money invested in f-commerce initiatives by large brands has been relatively small.
The bad news here is really for Facebook. If it's ever going to live up to the type of valuation it will likely go public at, it's going to need to make a lot more money. F-commerce could have helped in two big ways:
  • Encouraging companies to spend more on Facebook advertising to drive users to their Facebook storefronts.
  • Allowing Facebook to expand the use of its virtual currency, Credits, to purchases of physical goods.
Obviously, f-commerce shouldn't be written off as dead. But if Facebook really wants to make a go of it, the world's largest social network will have to be more thoughtful than "this is where people are hanging out" when trying to promote commerce on its platform.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Asics Run with Ryan

PumaPulse Curated By ZenithOptimedia, The ROI Agency Find out more at

Zenith comment: A similar idea to our FAAS campaign in Singapore.  This is a good example of how media placements and good creative can compliment each other.  What could make an execution like this better is by implementing an interactive element such as RFID / NFC Facebook check-in to amplify campaign by sharing timings of the public against the runners. (by Berlin Ng)

As part of its campaign for the recent New York City Marathon, Vitro conceived this video wall that depicted long distance runner Ryan hall sprinting at marathon speed across a tunnel in NYC’s Columbus Circle subway station. The wall featured a countdown, which allowed passersby to get in position and then see how they fared racing alongside the athlete.

During the promotion, Hall himself stopped by to race against his virtual self. Who won? Check out the video to find out.