March 17, 2010

Retail Roundup

"Hometrends," a new line at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., offers a full range of affordable décor solutions for cost-conscious customers. … OfficeMax's new private-label ENGAGE line features high-tech products such as the "Optical Mouse," which works on various surfaces and comes in wired and wireless versions. … Pop icon Madonna and Iconix Brand Group's MC Icon have inked a licensing agreement with Macy's for a "Material Girl" junior collection to launch in August. … A new report from Interbrand ranks Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as the most valuable retail brand, followed by Target Corp., Best Buy Co. Inc., Home Depot Inc., Walgreen Co., CVS Caremark Corp., Sam's Club, Dell Inc., Coach and Inc. … Frito-Lay is raising brand awareness for Lay's Chips with "The Happiness Exhibit," where consumers can upload their own photos to Flickr. Selected images will appear in upcoming issues of People magazine and on Lay's packaging.More

Consumer spending perks up economy
The Wall Street Journal
A string of surprisingly strong corporate earnings reports and economic data shows that U.S. consumers have emerged from a long hibernation to start spending again on everything from new TVs and restaurant meals to spring outfits. The Commerce Department reported that retail sales increased a seasonally-adjusted 0.3 percent in February from a month earlier, despite winter storms across a large swath of the country that analysts thought would keep shoppers home bound.More

Shopping aisles at cutting edge of consumer research, tech
Advertising Age
Cameras could be monitoring the time it takes to you browse the aisle and put that box of Mac 'N Cheese in your cart. The purchase itself might have been driven by one of Kraft's "mom cues" designed to tug your heartstrings in the store. Or your motivation may have been an idea from its iFood Assistant that you downloaded in the store. Researchers might later examine your purchase data and household information and pair it with economic models to determine that the store is only getting 10 percent of your package-dinner dollar — and look for ways to build that up.More

What the rich are buying now
Forbes Woman
Take a stroll down Madison Avenue past glittering store windows where $5,000 ostrich handbags and $150,000 drop diamond earrings are on display. You may find yourself wondering if people—men, women, anyone—are really buying this stuff. Apparently they are.More

Smartphones will shake up paid content debate
Media companies longing to bring a paid-for culture to the Internet might just get what they want if they pay more attention to the smartphone revolution that is changing the way people access the Web.More

Mobile apps that outperform Web sites
The New York Times
Since the great app rush began, Web companies have scurried to build mobile apps. In some cases, they have realized that their services are better suited to cellphone screens than computers.More

iPad strategies for publishers
News After Newspapers
iPad is not a linear, incremental development. It's not a simple next step after everything that has preceded it (even iPhone); it's a new direction that will have unpredictable impacts on digital behavior.More

The future of content navigation
Monday Note
Let's forget business models and monetization — just for a brief moment. Instead, we'll focus on one key issue: the interface, the way you access, browse, spot, save relevant information. The interface is pivotal. A good one will allow you to rope in your readers/viewers, and make them loyal to your brand, your contents.More

Foursquare, Gowalla and the future of geo-location
The Telegraph
The mobile phone in your pocket is now about so much more than mere conversation. E-mail, the Web and maps have become basic parts of any new mobile, and those technologies are starting to come together.More

NPR's new iPad site may be 'ideally suited for audio'
Poynter Online
In anticipation of the coming iPad, NPR is preparing a touch-friendly version of its Web site tailored for the device, similar in concept to iPhone-friendly sites that offer different navigation and font sizes for its small screen. NPR also is developing an app for the device, joining a growing list of news organizations. Both will be ready in time for the iPad's launch on April 3.More

Google makes its local shopping move
It took awhile, but Google has made its big move as a local shopping inventory gatekeeper. The company said that it will offer inventory checks on local stores to see if products are available. The program has already enlisted some key retailers, including Sears, Best Buy, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm. Rest assured that local merchants, which increasingly rely on Google to send business their way, will follow suit.More

Facebook location sharing could impact local advertising
Lost Remote
Facebook will begin allowing location-based status updates as early as next month, according to Nick Bilton's report on the Bits Blog. The plan, apparently, is to unveil the feature at f8, the company's annual developer's conference.More

Radio's reach: 239 million every week
Radio World
Electronic ratings continue to suggest that radio's total reach is broader than thought previously. That's a conclusion from Arbitron, which issued a summary of its latest quarterly RADAR statistics about national radio listening. Approximately 239 million people age 12 and above listen during a typical week, Arbitron said. That number was 235 million at this time two years ago. The RADAR estimates began to include PPM data from certain markets shortly before that.More

Webwindows: How to boost traffic with newspaper advertising
PR Interactive
A recent research commissioned by Google and conducted by Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo has thrown up some interesting facts related to newspaper advertising. According to the report, consumers often research products and services on the Internet after they see them advertised in the newspapers. The study indicates that two-thirds of the people turn to the Internet for more information for the products advertised in the newspaper. Then again, 70 percent of the people from this group actually do make purchases following the research.More

America's great escape ticket
Consumers are spending more and more time consuming entertainment — Americans spend an average of four hours each day watching video. But how they're spending their entertainment dollars is shifting. The choices are nearly infinite, so now it's all about value and convenience.More

ABC News plans paywall by June
paidContent via The Guardian
ABC News Digital executives are currently putting together a formal paywall strategy with expectations of having some concrete ideas for ways to charge consumers by the summer, said Paul Slavin, the unit's senior vice-president, in an interview with paidContent.More

Facebook: a place to share articles on the weekend
The World Editors Forum
A recent survey of Facebook user habits by DanZarrella found that users are more likely to share articles with friends over the weekend than the week, even though less news is typically published during this time.More

Survey: Readers don't want to pay for news online
The Associated Press via Yahoo! News
Getting people to pay for news online at this point would be "like trying to force butterflies back into their cocoons," a new consumer survey suggests. That was one of several bleak headlines in the Project for Excellence in Journalism's annual assessment of the state of the news industry.More

Do marketers still need news brands?
Advertising Age
The U.S. print newspaper industry long received about 80 percent of its revenue from advertising, with circulation making up the rest. As ad revenue has declined 20 percent-25 percent since the recession, ad revenue now contributes close to 75 percent of total income. Publishers facing the heavy fog of uncertainty are budgeting largely flat in a recovery year, a sign they see permanent downturn in their fortunes.More

Will paid content put publishing back in the black?
The success of's Kindle e-reader and online e-bookstore has spawned a paid e-publishing content marketplace that has grown rapidly in the past two years and shows no sign of slowing. Competition from other device-makers such as Apple promises to further stimulate what is already one of the most dynamic areas of the digital content ecosystem.More

Newspaper Club launches startup for papers on demand
Graphic Arts Online
Unused presstime at daily newspapers may find new customers from an unlikely source: bloggists who would like to see their postings committed to print. Newspaper Club, a U.K. startup, has launched a business printing newspapers on demand, buying low-cost press time during off hours and reprinting material for customers, much of it originating as blogs and other online material.More