Do retailers need a central content aggregation site?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Mark Heckman Consulting blog.
With more merchants doing un-targeted e-mail blasts, the open rates tend to be lower for everyone. Blogger-fed websites and the more established coupon distribution sites such as AllYou.com, RetailMeNot.com and Savings.com have a distinct advantage: a steady stream of deals. The more relevant the offers and the retailers are to the shopper, the better the traffic and the results will be for that site. They are on the right track.
However, many of these sites have passive relationships with the retailer content they post on the site. While coupon codes, shopping lists and circular content are available, a shopper cannot fully engage with each retailer by checking on their point totals for continuity programs or drilling down into their loyalty club and personal preferences. For that content, the shopper must go back to the retailer’s own site, making the shopper’s life more complicated, not less.
One answer appears to lie in the creation of comprehensive central content aggregation site, one in which the list of participating retailers satisfy key requisites for shopper-centric loyalty. I see the requirements as follows:
1. Content: The retailers must recognize the enhanced reach they will receive by actively posting both targeted and mass content on an additional central shopper/loyalty site for shoppers and use the site as a means to allow full integration into points, personal profiles, and past performance. While they maintain their own sites, this new central site provides the shopper a new, additional option for engaging with the retailer. With current technology, this can be achieved while maintaining the integrity of their customer database.
2. Community: This central site must represent the major players in each of the Shopping Communities built, meaning one or more major supermarket, mass retailer, chain drug, sporting goods, home improvement, electronic superstore, and an array of smaller complimenting loyalty retailers. Consumer research tells us that shoppers wildly support the concept of a single site.
3. Consistency: This central site must strive to grow its community of retailers in both number and volume of content, by promoting a dialogue with its shoppers and retailers.
4. Centricity: Big retailers will not engage in a commonly-shared platform with other retailers unless the central site embraces the importance of maintaining the retailer’s control of its brand equities and shopper database. Both are table stakes for participation.
What do you think of the prospects of a central shopping/loyalty site supporting a community of retailers? What do see as the main obstacles to developing one? Are there simpler ways to aggregate coupon distribution that offer more benefit to stores?