PROFILE

Adrian Weidmann

Principal, StoreStream Metrics, LLC

Adrian bridges the ‘business objective’ communication gap between the Chief Marketing Officer and Retail IT. Spanning more than 28 years of introducing emerging digital media technologies and business solutions designed for video, audio and graphics production and strategy, Adrian now assists brands (and retailers) designing and implementing intelligent, integrated omni-channel (mobile, online, on-air, in-store and print) marketing communication and merchandising solutions driven by digital media. Adrian brings direct real-world experience along with a unique balance of innovative creative and technical insight and vision.

Adrian has spent the past 13 years pioneering all aspects of the emerging digital signage sector. He co-authored and published (Relevant Press) the first book for the evolving in-store digital media industry, Lighting Up The Aisle, Principles & Practices For In-Store Digital Media. An early encounter with a retail executive provided clarity – “It’s about selling stuff.” Understanding why, where, how and through whom money flows between brands and retailers to ‘sell stuff’ establish Adrian’s philosophical foundation. He has merged his unique perspective and insight to the art and science of digital media with analytical business fundamentals to assist brands, retailers and their agencies alike to realize the full potential of integrated multi-channel and interactive digital media solutions to enable integrated marketing conversion with measurable results.

Adrian has authored four patent-pending disclosures for digital media network concept and process inventions. Using his proprietary patent-pending software, EVAlidate™, to model the business viability of digital media networks with various monetization strategies, Adrian has brought real world experience and business acumen in designing and developing digital media based network solutions. His brand and digital media network experience includes Lowe’s, The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund, Best Buy, ERN, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Dentsu (Japan), Cereja (Brazil), Supervalu, PRN/Wal-mart, Federated Department Stores, Nike, and UnitedHealth Group.

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  • Posted on: 08/15/2016

    Is brick & mortar ready to leverage in-store shopper data?

    The key word is eventually. Remember, Amazon already has and uses the data. Stores have (or could have) access to vast and invaluable shopper data. The challenge is to determine what data should they be sifting through and which data is actually going to help them sell more to the digitally empowered shopper. Their first challenge is to create seamless and delightful experiences that resonate with online shoppers. Why go to a brick & mortar store — for the experience. Unless the holistic shopping experience is enjoyable, shoppers will shop from their kitchen table — not because it's more fun, but because it's easier and has far fewer hassles.More time should be spent concentrating on "little data" — data that actually can translate into real commercial results. Creating seamless tracking from manufacturing through the sale in the aisle using RFID technology is "little data." It's very focused data, but with powerful supply chain and consignment sales process ramifications. These technologies will change the entire brick & mortar landscape.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2016

    Are store closings a positive sign for Macy’s?

    Trying to rationalize Macy's move to close locations may be a case of reading too much overarching strategy into the tea leaves. Retailers (Lowe's and Target) make these moves all the time. These decisions are typically based on one fundamental factor -- money. If the numbers don't meet expectations in the boardroom, the result is usually terminal. Once these decisions are made, it becomes the job for the PR department to place the appropriate "strategy" spin on the public communication. Shoppers will buy from the location and channel that offers them the best shopping experience. Experience being defined as the entire portfolio of shopping components -- price, selection, ease, seamless, fun, rewarding, etc. Any retailer or brand that doesn't focus on creating an exceptional shopping experience in their brick-and-mortar environments will join Macy's in closing them.
  • Posted on: 08/09/2016

    Kroger pushes its tech advantage

    Technology will be required by retailers of all goods and services in order to remain relevant, viable and competitive in an Amazonian (and now Walmart/Jet) landscape. Retail is a consignment business. This fact has been obscured for years behind veils of agreements and business arrangements. I believe RFID merchandising is the future of brand and retailer retailing. As such, brands and retailers will need to embrace the technologies and processes required to create a 100 percent consignment business model built around RFID tagging.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2016

    White lies, sales fibs and the customer experience

    Trust and integrity are priceless in the cross-channel environment navigated by the digitally empowered shopper. When you (any brand!) get caught (and you will!) the damage to the brand will far outweigh any advantage that you believe some silly white lie will give you, and will crush you! Shoppers typically don't trust you and your claims anyway and getting caught misleading your shopper simply validates their perception of your brand. Your word and integrity are your two most valuable currencies in today's digital economy. Don't devalue your brand by falsely believing you can outsmart today's shopper.
  • Posted on: 07/07/2016

    Do retail marketers have an appetite for data science?

    Since I provide quantitative data analytics services as part of my business, I am delighted that retailers and brands alike use contracted services. I believe it is a question of agility and focus. As a small business owner I am able (and willing!) to react very quickly to specific requests. Additionally, having been a pioneer in the evolution of digital signage, in-store shopper behavior, media and experiential design -- my analytics engagements leverage this experience as I understand the context in which these particular data points exist making it easier for me to help the client gain the specific insight they're interested in revealing for themselves, or on behalf of their customer.A marketer at a retailer and/or brand may have a specific mandate of business objective that needs to be supported by quantitative insights. It is easier, quicker and cheaper to contract an outside resource with specific and unique expertise within the context of that business objective than trying to prioritize and reallocate internal resources that are focused on big-picture initiatives.It is not a question of either/or but rather of how internal and external data science resources can, and should, complement each other to provide invaluable insights that translate into a better shopping experience for your customers.
  • Posted on: 06/23/2016

    What’s the next step for content marketing?

    Shoppers use YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram to explore, educate and compare products and services as well as learn numerous DIY projects. Video is a great vehicle to tell stories. Given all the mobile camera devices almost everyone is a producer. Add to this the aforementioned distribution channels, we all can be publishers.There are tremendous opportunities for brands to develop content that leverages these channels. Content development agencies/studios that combine creative, a unique understanding of these channels for both online and in-store shopper value and behavior, content curation and cross-channel publishing along with content efficacy analytics will thrive in the forthcoming years.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2016

    Winning digital minds, analog hearts

    Not only does connecting the digital conscience with the analog heart make sense for retail, it is imperative for success. The connection can be made through human senses -- smell, touch, sound, taste, sight and the experiences that weave them together into an emotional tapestry.Coke's "Share a Coke and a Song" summer campaign is a perfect example of how a major brand is connecting to the emotion of music with its digital delivery, from listening to the tune through to reading lyrics on the soda can to touching the cold beverage and tasting that Coke. Weaving it all together into an emotive experience that lasts long after the beverage is gone.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2016

    RFID goes to the dogs

    This is yet another example of someone spinning publicity well beyond the merits of its value. A cute stunt that follows in the same footsteps as the Puppy Bowl. I guess you can afford such luxury when you raise $60 million!
  • Posted on: 06/14/2016

    IRCE recap: Retailers have to be careful with dynamic pricing

    Having been involved in all aspects of digital signage since 1997, I've long held that the ability for gas stations (oil companies) to change their displayed prices has had a direct impact on the erratic fluctuation of gas prices. How many of us have felt helpless as we pay 8 cents more for gas within a two hour span? That's a big profit boost for all the gas that's in the supply tank you just drove over!The same holds true for in-store prices. Increasing the price of a Big Mac at the McDonald's in Times Square late Friday afternoon for the tourist crowd is one thing, but changing your pricing like the airlines do based upon your searches and timing can be a very dangerous practice for your brand. Digitally-empowered shoppers are not naive and when they catch you taking advantage (and profiting!) off of their shopping journey and behavior they WILL share their discovery and anger with the world.The use of electronic shelf labels (ESL) could have a more meaningful social aspect. When shoppers discover a great product and price based on units sold on a particular day, the ESL begins to flash -- alerting other shoppers to the trend and discovery.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2016

    IRCE recap: Is there a right way for retailers to use beacons?

    The use of beacon technology is another one of those technology implementations that all too often should pay attention to the adage, "just because you can, doesn't mean you should!" They are implemented because they exist and give the retailer's app a method to monetize the existence of both the app and the beacons.The reality is that the use of in-store apps is extremely limited -- at best! And shoppers want information and insights to support their shopping journey, not another medium and opportunity for brands to shove yet another unwelcome advertising or marketing message in front of them. These messages are typically designed and implemented to make money for the retailer, brand and their agencies -- NOT to truly help the shopper on her journey.There are other methods and processes that do NOT require an app that can be much less invasive and far more creative and helpful for the shopper.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2016

    BOPIS needs more work

    "Click-and-collect" (sorry, I just can't get onboard the BOPIS acronym) is, and can be, a very powerful tool to bridge the mobile shopper and brick-and-mortar retailers. The program needs to be taken seriously and founded upon a robust workflow that is supported and respected by the entire enterprise. Processes, staff education and commitment is required to be successful. The program will not support your brand if it just another part of your app. I maintain that the use of a retailer app in-store continues to be minimal. That being said, I just helped my daughter move into a new apartment this weekend and we made our required pilgrimage to Target. She open her Cartwheel app and scanned all the items in our cart. I watched the process with great interest. On our way out of the store she proudly announced she had saved an additional $13. Hmmm?In short, click-and-collect can be a very powerful program when taken seriously. As other shoppers see the streamlined process it will inspire them to try the service themselves.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2016

    Mobile: It comes down to one person

    Most retailers and brands are approaching mobile as a "to-do" item on a checklist instead of developing a process with an associated experience that is valued by the shopper. Interactive agencies advocate this approach because they can charge extraordinary fees to develop an app for their client. This in turn allows the retailer or brand client to claim that they have a mobile initiative. Unfortunately, the majority of the insights and research suggests that the use of apps while in-store simply don't work!There are notable exceptions -- Starbucks, as their app is tied to both loyalty and payment programs. The broader reality is that shoppers rarely use brand apps while in-store. The shopper is on a journey, she has an objective, and if she is surprised and delighted on the way, then that is a great bonus. She clutches her mobile device throughout the journey but is only using it to talk to friends or using it to make her journey easier and more rewarding. An app gets in the way of this flow. Retailers and brands need to develop a holistic workflow that creates a single view of truth as it relates to the shopper's journey and associated experiences before, during and after her store visit. Without that workflow roadmap the experiences will all be disjointed and miss the mark with shoppers.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2016

    Study: E-commerce is eroding retail profitability

    There is no doubt that unless retailers create a brick-and-mortar experience that is rewarding, and as frictionless as an online experience, their relevancy will continue to erode and be marginalized. Everyday experiences always point to reality. Just this last week, I went online to look for a tool chest for my son's birthday: Google's zero moment of truth. I found our choice on Home Depot's website. According to the website there were four units in stock in aisle RT, Bay 001 at my local store. I took a picture of the webpage with all of the details on my mobile phone. Upon arrival at the store, I asked where I would find find RT. Crickets! Three sales associates milling around the empty cash wraps and not one had the faintest idea where aisle RT was located. Is anyone surprised? Fortunately, after several long minutes I found the last unit sitting in the main runway.

    With all this talk about omnichannel, retailers are still struggling with the basics. At the very least, your online inventory should at least be accurate. Furthermore, if you're going to use coordinates to help your shoppers locate the products, your in-store staff should at least know where those coordinates actually are!

    This reality will continue to erode the relevancy of brick-and-mortar retail. If shipping were free, I'd have purchased the tool chest from the website.

  • Posted on: 05/02/2016

    Are free shipping expectations crushing smaller retailers?

    Free shipping is definitely a competitive advantage for brands and retailers. I believe that the offer of free shipping has been the key catalyst for the explosion of online retailing. My daughter, who does a tremendous amount of her apparel shopping online, will only shop through websites that offer free shipping, ideally both ways.

    Between free shipping and the convenience of the journey, small- to medium-sized retailers face a daunting challenge. Experience, unique selection and a social purpose (Love Your Melon, Tom's) are three differentiators that some retailers can use to compete — never price!

    A local sports retailer has become a national online destination for Nordic ski equipment. Their online business is supported by a brick-and-mortar store and their online business is very strong due to their unique expertise and they don't need free shipping to attract business. The owner is a national champion and maintains her presence in sports events throughout the year.

  • Posted on: 04/26/2016

    Can digital signage make wait times less annoying?

    The reduction of perceived wait times has been used as a rationale for investing in digital signage for years. This has been a popular reason (excuse!?) for implementing digital signage in retail banking for years. I have been involved in all aspects of digital signage since 1998 and I've heard them all. Among the other lame attempts to rationalize the investment in this communication medium is "return on objective" (ROO). Frankly, I've never heard of ANY project being funded because it has an incredibly high ROO. In short, any retailer that cares about its customer's checkout wait times should open more checkout stations NOT install digital signage!

    The single biggest reason digital signage hasn't taken off at retail has been the lack of designing and activating a sustainable business model that is valued by all of the three core stakeholders — the retailer, their vendor partners and the shopper. The retailers have been too focused upon how they can use this medium to extract more cash from their vendor partners instead of designing solutions that are truly valued and relevant to the shoppers.

    Digital signage is but one application that can be used to communicate effectively with shoppers in-store. Designing and activating a solution for the benefit of the shopper that is monitored, optimized with measurable KPIs (typically sales! "did we sell more stuff?") supported by a meaningful content strategy and library can be incredibly powerful. The solution is a dynamic communication channel and requires a continual commitment to its own relevance. Otherwise it'll become a very expensive poster.

    If someone uses the rationale of "reducing the perceived wait time" as a justification for investing in digital signage the red flag should be raised immediately! If you implement digital signage on this foundation, the initiative will fail — period.

    Digital signage must be viewed as one available application that may compliment the shopper journey. Its value is measured by the shopper's success.

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