Retailer as Publisher

13 Aug 2013

When you think of publishers what name comes to mind? Wall Street Journal? New York Times?

What do you think the advertising budget is of the New York Times? If you were a VC, would you fund a start up whose business plan is: get publishers to pay you to advertise their product, and give you their customer list? Oh you also want to know what articles they read.

Sound ridiculous…? This is the world of Card Linked Offers. Think of Retailers as publishers, their shelf space is akin to columns in the newspaper.  Starbucks is a great example of a retailer as publisher. They publish physical product (coffee) which they own and control, but also publish virtual product (music) and are a channel for advertising. This is what is behind the Google/Starbucks broadband deal.

Can you imagine asking the New York Times to fund 5% off a big screen TV? Sure they want people reading their newspapers.. but they don’t own the products they publish.  The REAL opportunity is for entities to HELP RETAILERS BE BETTER ADVERTISERS.  This is what I referred to in Payments enabled CRM. Google and Amazon are the run away leaders here. With Square and Amex a distant second (based upon ability to influence/reach a consumer base).retailer ad share

I love the potential of Social to impact Retailer as publisher. Social advertising (not published), loyalty/incentives for “connectors” and influencers, community reviews, …  Facebook has enormous potential here.

Who can help retailers become better “publishers”? Big opportunities for companies that can help retailers improve in the physical channel, compete w/ Amazon in virtual channel, and join the two (mobile at center).



7 thoughts on “Retailer as Publisher

  1. Thinking of the retailer in terms of publishing is a sticky business. Yes I like it. In fact, I really like it…for large retailers. However, what happens to the SMB? They certainly do not have the market gravity to tell the likes of google or amazon or apple what they will pay. Does that mean they will have inferior marketing channels to work with and our products will end up as a homogeneous blob what kinda like Judge Dread? I am not sure of the answer but certainly thought of this model over the past months.

    • reminds me of Movie Demolition Man.. in the future every restaurant is a Taco Bell.

      If price is the ONLY competition point you are correct, however I don’t see it that way.. much more likely to see a breakdown of retail to smaller, more customized stores that address local market needs… selling products that are tailored to local demand. Retailers must shift compete points away from price to survive. To do this they must create a great experience. Why do you buy a $3 coffee at Starbucks vs. $1.oo and McDonalds?

      What if you walked into a store and it had items you were interested ready for you to review or buy? WHat if shopping were “fun”?.. What if custom made clothes were available in a day.. pick out your styles and have it made for you.. why take off the rack?

      Of course I do love my Grilled Stuffed Burrito Supreme… but just not every day.

  2. Hi Tom,

    Sorry to get my movies crossed. Yes I agree with the experience being the key. However, sometimes the experience you are looking for is low price? Small retailers typically rely on local demand and word of mouth to gain a foothold and bring in revenue. If they have a great product or the experience is demanded they will continue to have enough revenue to support their business. However, does a small company have the resources to serve the personalized desires of the local customer base? Not sure, because most of the local shops and restaurants have a small selection of products and service that works. In that case do they even need advertising? If that is the case I still think retailers as publishers works best for large retailers with loads of products.

    • This is the challenge of retail. If you sell the same product at a higher price it is a “CHALLENGING” business model.

      Don’t think of advertising as just advertising.. think of it as part of the experience. Starbucks loyalty points is a key reason for its success in payments. Of course the product and experience were behind the success in retail.

      With Square Register if you were recognized “Welcome back Ted” when you walked into the door, or asked “Ted, should I just charge the same card you used last week”.. would it make you “feel” recognized and valued. Believe it or not some people care about these things.

      Also think of “entertainment value”.. community advertising and incentives. Spend $100 with your local bar and restaurants and you get a free beer.. The ad expense is shared based upon proportional spend.. There are 1000s of these kinds of cross promotion, social, entertainment ideas.

      Why on earth would anyone shop at a store with a higher price on the same good? If you answer that question I think you will answer your questions around retailer as publisher.

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