If you’re a marketer in the retail industry, we don’t have to tell you that consumers love And who can blame them? Not only does Amazon offer a huge selection of items, they make it very easy to browse and compare several items very quickly. No running from store to store, searching for the


Welcome, marketers, to our third and final chapter exploring the challenges of visual marketing for brick and mortar stores. If you missed our first two posts on the topic, we strongly recommend starting at the beginning (they’re good reads), but just in case – here’s a quick recap: First we defined the three challenges facing


Last week we examined the challenges of in-store marketing, and what makes it so hard to align your brick and mortar signage with your broader campaigns. We dissected the issue into three problems that marketers must overcome for a successful in-store campaign: The Layout Problem, which we discussed last week, is the challenge of maintaining


You’ve worked closely with your team to prepare a great marketing campaign and you’re ready to launch. Your messaging is on target, and you have great graphics designed to really get you noticed. Just one question: what will your campaign look like when it reaches your brick and mortar locations? Will your in-store marketing have the

eBook Cover - how to build a marketing calendar

In a previous post Establishing a Global Marketing Calendar Framework I shared several steps that need to be followed in order to layout the framework for your marketing calendar. Two follow up posts Weaving Marketing Strategy into your Marketing Calendar Framework and Applying Metrics to Strategy in a Marketing Calendar outlined the contents of the


We’re in the home stretch! In this final installment of our series on building and using a marketing calendar framework, we’ll tackle the application of marketing metrics to strategy. This is a key tool in your calendar’s arsenal: metrics give your team the ability to track the effectiveness of your campaigns, and help you develop a


Now that you know how to set-up an initial framework, you can begin to integrate marketing strategy into your calendar. Typically, most strategy is developed in a top-down manner with the following areas: Sales Events / Promotions & Holidays Marketing Campaigns Marketing Vehicles Let’s dive into each of these a little further so we can


In our last post, we laid out exactly why the marketing calendar is an asset to businesses. If that resonated with you, then let’s see what we can do to help you get started with establishing a marketing calendar framework. We’ve narrowed the many facets of a marketing calendar down to three basic components: Timelines Brands,

why your business needs a marketing calendar

Your business is a well-oiled machine that’s being fed by your marketing efforts. Each prospect and opportunity generated by marketers becomes the veritable gas moving the business forward. The quality of the prospects and opportunities, however, are closely tied to how well your campaigns are orchestrated. Better executed marketing campaigns equal better prospects for the

Planning Meeting

This is the second part in a series that outlines how retailers can approach developing an omni-channel marketing plan. Part 1 of this series can be found here. Category planning sometimes also referred to as seasonal planning is a step in the planning process where the merchandising department understands the feature space they will be

CrossCap Signage Zombie Shoppers

The familiar metallic clank of security shutters being drawn echoes across the mall. Another hour till the security guards opened the main entrance, and hoards of shoppers would course through aisles, picking apart end caps, and dismantling displays. There are any number of things that could have gone wrong while preparing for Black Friday that


Pinterest released their first API last week, and showcased it with a very impressive list of brands and retailers. Granted that this is their first kick at the can, and they’ll be adding more features, but it got us thinking about how retailers can leverage existing endpoints and data from the API in their omni-channel


In my previous post I mentioned the complexity around developing an omni-channel retail marketing plan and outlined a methodology based on my experience at CrossCap. Today, I would like to focus on Strategic Planning which is the first step within the planning phase of implementing an omni-channel marketing plan. During the strategic planning phase, the marketing


I have worked with many retailers over my 11 years as Chief Innovation Officer at CrossCap, and I wanted to start sharing a methodology that we’ve developed as a best practice to help build and constantly refine a retail omni-channel marketing plan. This framework will guide retailers, large and small, with the steps they need to align

As a retailer you know how important it is to have your marketing and promotional calendar planned six to 12 to 18 months out. And, we know that filling in those dates is just half the battle. So, if you haven’t gotten started for 2014, you may already be feeling a bit nauseous. Not to

The retail marketing world is chock full of complications: multi-channel customers, showrooming, distributed teams, multiple legacy software systems, discontinuity, mobile, and the list goes on and on. Here at CrossCap, we’re in the fortunate position to witness (and often be a contributor to) the biggest and brightest retail marketing organizations as they adapt and expand

When Katie Melua sang ‘Nine Million Bicycles,’ she could have just as easily have been talking about digital asset management software solutions. In the 12 years we’ve spent working with retailers, we have encountered them in all shapes and sizes: home grown, customized, and the obscure.

What we have come to learn in that time is that there are four key features that effective digital asset management software absolutely must have to best support your retail marketing organization:

As a retail marketing leader, you're challenged to get a full grasp on retail metrics as a driver of strategy, performance and continual improvement. You want to ensure you have the right metrics, but you also have to ensure you have a dashboard view that's visible to key stakeholders. A recent survey conducted by Vision

The following post is PART IV of a five part series on how to become a retail marketing superhero. We’ve leveraged the collective experiences from our most successful clients, some of the top retailers in the world, to help you the retail marketer achieve ultimate success in your career and for the business. Download the complete ebook here!

Consumers are increasingly sensitive to consistency across channels, forcing retailers to take another look at how they align promotions and merchandising operationally. These efforts have been complicated by the growing demand for message localization and the tendency of many consumers to do research in one channel and make purchases in another.

In an effort to address these challenges, forward-looking retailers are actively integrating marketing with operations, often overseeing multiple teams and channels. However, the proliferation of new digital channels, and their integration into the promotion and merchandising mix, further complicates the life of the marketer – creating a need for strong coordination across channels and departments.

The following post is PART III of a five part series on how to become a retail marketing superhero. We’ve leveraged the collective experiences from our most successful clients, some of the top retailers in the world, to help you the retail marketer achieve ultimate success in your career and for the business. This series will cover everything the retail marketing leader needs to become a superhero in today’s omni-channel world. Download the complete ebook here!

Localization-exampleWith the advancement of localization, the pervasion of price transparency, and the need for omni-channel presence, marketing and merchandising organizational structures and processes are rapidly evolving. Delivering a unified customer experience has never been more important, and retailers who have these processes well-defined have experienced 3% or better store sales growth over comparable outlets. Despite these requirements less than 50% of retailers involve marketing in their merchandising strategy, and vice-versa.

The following blog post is PART II of a five part series on how to become a retail marketing superhero. We’ve leveraged the collective experiences from our most successful clients, some of the top retailers in the world, to help you the retail marketer achieve ultimate success in your career and for the business. This series will cover everything the retail marketing leader needs to become a superhero in today’s omni-channel world. Download the complete ebook here!

Retail-Marketing-strategyExecuting long-term marketing strategies, especially across multiple channels, requires the handiwork of some of the best marketing planners – especially at the 250+ store level. Being able to predict resource requirements, meet merchandising’s needs, and align campaigns across channels can indeed become a retail marketer’s full time job.

In this five part series, we’ve leveraged the collective experiences from our most successful clients, some of the top retailers in the world, to help you the retail marketer achieve ultimate success in your career and for the business. This series will cover everything the retail marketing leader needs to become a superhero in today’s omni-channel world. Download the complete ebook here!Intersection of Strategy & Execution

As a leader responsible for retail marketing, you know what it means to be at the intersection of strategy and execution. One key challenge is ensuring campaign continuity across your organization – whether the issue is reporting, messaging, or channel execution.

marketing-calendar-softwareThere are a surprising number of retail organizations that don’t have a centralized marketing calendar, and getting the cross organizational buy in to purchase one is only half the battle.

As you know, the marketing calendar is the holy grail of effective omni-channel visibility and management. Unfortunately, it has been relegated to complex excel files scattered across shared folders.


Unless your marketing team consists of one person, it’s time to put down the Excel marketing calendar.

If you are a retailer with a large marketing team, you are probably guilty of having several Excel marketing calendars floating around on your shared drives. Those of you with Excel ninjas on staff will likely have several spreadsheets linked to one central marketing calendar. Sure that seems like a good idea, but then there are probably a couple of folks on staff whose sole job is keeping up with updates and changes to the files.

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In our client engagements, we find that retail marketers & merchants have wildly differing views on the functionality and desired operational change they expect from MSM, EMM & MRM solutions. Understanding the differences between the solutions is key to recognizing the value they deliver to retail organizations. We’ll start with examining the variations in functionality between the suites, and then describe the corresponding impact retailers can expect from these tools.

Before diving into the differences, let’s cover some background information. Here’s what the three acronyms mean:

store portal

Not every retailer is fortunate enough to have a sign distribution solution (something we call Visual Marketing Automation)that provides them with production quantities & custom kits based on store profiles. For those that do, there are some tangible benefits to integrating your sign distribution solution with your store portal. Here they are in no particular order:

Omni Channel Santa


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through marketing,
Not a creature was stirring, not even the interns;
The campaigns were pinned on the wall with care,
In hopes that the holiday sales results soon would be clear;

  One of the most popular posts on our blog is the ‘3 strategies for measuring sales lift’, and we’ve received numerous requests for a follow up on the topic. So, with this post we’d like to take this further and discuss how retailer marketers should actually analyze the overall performance of a promotion. (If

Retail marketers often look at offer planning as something that belongs in the realm of merchandising. The systems that merchants end up using are spinoff products from whatever financial ERP happens to be installed. What both groups might be missing are the benefits that come from having an offer planning system that’s tied into their

Whenever we speak with our customers or prospective ones, the question of store profile attributes comes up. More specifically, how many should they be tracking? To help answer this question we took a look at our existing customers, and how they were leveraging the Store Profiler, and Sign Calculator modules of our Visual Marketing Automation

Bricks and mortar, e-tail or a combination of the two; pricing models High – Low, Mid – Low or EDLP, it’s come that time of year again when you face the blank marketing calendar for the next fiscal year. Once again the marketing budget, whether it is $2 billion or $200,000 is flat or slashed

It doesn’t matter if a retail organization does it weekly or quarterly, proofing media is often an unpleasant experience. There’s no reason why it should remain a painful step in your execution process. With holiday planning in full swing, we’d like to offer up some suggestions on how to make your next set of proofing

The MRM craze kicked into high gear in early 2003, every retail marketer was being told they needed an enterprise marketing solution. Their IT departments rushed to read analyst reports and figure out which vendor to implement. Several million dollars later, it’s 2012, and retail marketers are stuck looking at complicated systems, that don’t handle

So you’ve built your mass media marketing plan and are now ready to move to execution stage. You diligently did the creative briefs for all of your broadcast and preprint media, and got them aligned on message and voice. You successfully got your merchant partners to support the themes with products and offers. You feel

I keep seeing new guides on how retailer marketers should tackle social media or mobile, on a near daily basis. It’s great that there’s boatload of content on these channels, but what about something more traditional like circulars? There’s a good chance that not every retailer out there has an iron clad process for planning

So, how is the busy retail marketer going to manage customer messaging in a world where coordination of message among multiple channels is the key to success.  Well, first of all there must be an interactive marketing calendar where each internal marketing team and agency partner can actively participate in building that message.  The days

Every Visual Marketing / Print Production team has had the conversation about versioning sign kits for their stores. The question is, when the dust settles, do they end up versioning kits at the right level? Let’s cover some in-store lingo first: •    ‘Sign kits’ are created to package a group of visual elements before they

For some time marketing teams at many retailers have been managing their marketing calendar with a variety of unconnected spreadsheets, emails and word documents.  With the proliferation of customer interface points across a large number of channels the ability to effectively manage customer messaging has become more difficult.  Retailers need to utilize new and more

Our previous installment of this guide covered the setting up of a sign library, and what information should you should be storing about the graphics you use in-store. (You can find Part 2 here!) Without further ado, here’s the conclusion to our guide to in-store sign planning. Calculating Sign Quantities & Kit Versions Now comes

stressed-chickenIn Part 1 of this guide, we covered store profiling and the types of store attributes retailers should be collecting. (You can find Part 1 here!)

Let’s dive right into Part 2 of our Retailer’s Guide to Pain Free In-Store Sign Planning.

Setting Up A Sign Library

While having a store database with attributes is important, retailers should also considering doing the same for in-store signs. There are quite a few benefits to creating an in-store sign library, aside from centralizing specifications and costs.

  • Consider storing an expiration date for signs within the database, so outdated messaging doesn’t accidentally end up in a kit or gets ordered by a store. It’s something you may even want to print on the sign itself. (In an inconspicuous place of course!)
  • Record information for preferred print vendors against specialty graphics
  • Track graphics using a unique sign code or SKU so your stores, marketing teams, printers & fulfillment houses all use the same point of reference. Some retailers print the sign code on the sign itself.
  • Segment between operational and promotional signs for both inventory replenishment and the store portal


stressed-chickenPlanning and distributing in-store signs is a nightmare for many retailers. The gigantic Excel spreadsheets, with store attributes and sign lists, that might have the information for new & renovated stores in them…if you’re lucky!

While we’re at it, let’s also throw in several languages, a variety of store formats, different climate zones, and multiple banner sizes to keep things interesting.

That spreadsheet is probably beginning to look more like a 9 headed monster.

Take a deep breath, there is an easier way to handle the planning and distribution of in-store signs. With this guide, we’ll show you how to keep your sanity, and look like a rock star, while staying under budget.

Social Media is nothing new. What’s new is its pervasiveness; a wide sea of social channels for retailers to traverse on a daily basis.Man-with-Telescope-600x396-resized-600

How are retailers expected to navigate the social sea safely?

Let’s head back to the 70’s, and ask ourselves why people bought branded products. Their decision was primarily influenced by the brand’s reputation.  Manufacturers would undertake intensive and expensive marketing efforts to convey the message they were steadfast, and would stand behind their products at all costs. Regardless of the product’s quality, the manufacturer would be accountable. Ad agencies provided the marketing spin for products convincing consumers to make purchases based on brand equity.

Measuring Sales Lift In A Retail PromotionThe good news is that every retailer we work with agrees that lift is an important metric for determining retail promotional success. The bad news is that there’s more than one way for retailers to calculate lift.

That being said, the concept of lift can mean a lift in sales, margin or unit volumes, but for simplicity’s sake we’ll focus on sales lift in this blog post. (Calculate sales lift automatically, visit our retail marketing metrics page. Also, Check out our Guide to Analyzing the Overall Lift of a Retail Promotion)

Let’s dive a little deeper into the definition of sales lift; retailers are specifically looking at the difference in promotional and baseline sales. Promotional sales are relatively easy to identify as it’s simply the promoted item sales during the promotional period. However the calculation of a baseline is when things start to get interesting for retailers.

Here’s what every retailer already knows or at the very least suspects: QR Codes are here to stay.crosscap qr

We have the proliferation of smartphones to thank for it. According to Nielsen, close to half of all US cell phone users own a smartphone (well 49.7% to be exact). 

A few retailers around the world have begun to use QR codes in some interesting and creative ways. Tesco Home Plus, a major retailer in Korea, covered the walls of subway stations with posters that mimicked grocery aisles. Busy commuters simply scanned product QR codes to purchase items that were delivered by the time they got home.