Sunday, May 5, 2019

Strack & Van Til sees substantial growth in online business over past year - The Times of Northwest Indiana

Strack & Van Til sees substantial growth in online business over past year - The Times of Northwest Indiana


Strack & Van Til sees substantial growth in online business over past year - The Times of Northwest Indiana

Posted: 04 May 2019 07:00 AM PDT

Strack & Van Til, the Region's largest grocery chain, has seen a substantial increase of more than 50 percent in online shopping over the past year.

"The industry continues to change rapidly and there's more emphasis on the perishable side of the business and more convenience," CEO Jeff Strack said. "The online element is coming more into it not just with groceries but with all retail businesses. We continue to see a dramatic increase in customers using online shopping methods, whether click and collect, where they come to pick it up, or the delivery service we offer."

The Highland-based grocery chain, which operates 20 stores in Northwest Indiana, rolled out curbside pickup at its stores in 2016 and started offering home delivery of groceries through Instacart the following year. It's one of many brick-and-mortar retailers looking to adapt to how e-commerce has changed their business.

"It's been surprising that the community has caught on that fast and it continues to grow at the rate that it is," Strack said. 

The services hold wide appeal.

"It's all sorts of people," he said. "During the winter months, people don't want to go outside. You get a lot of people who are time-starved and it makes their lives easier, whether ordering and picking up on the way home from work so they're not spending much time in the store. There's a lot of elderly people that aren't as mobile who are using it. It's a wide range of people. It's been very well-received."

People often say they won't order produce or meat online, sight unseen, but that's not what consumers do in practice, Strack said.

"The surprising thing to us is what we consider to be perishables are the dominant things being sold, whether produce, dairy, meat department, etc.," he said. "I thought those would be the laggards, but they're the ones that are most frequently being purchased. You hear a lot that people want to see it, feel it, touch it, but our online ratings are very high so people are happy with the quality they're getting."

Strack & Van Til also recently launched an app for a free membership program that gives regular customers discounts on many items.

"We're working on how to continue to offer more value to consumers," he said. "We want to reward our best shoppers, to give them even more savings."

Ensuring accurate info online key for small firms - Newsday

Posted: 05 May 2019 04:00 AM PDT

When consumers search for a business online, they expect the information they find to be accurate.

If key information like hours, addresses or phone numbers are wrong, it has a detrimental effect. According to a report by one listings management firm, 80 percent of consumers lose trust when online business information is incorrect.

 And "with unparalleled access to information online, it's easy for consumers to find an alternative business to use," says Myles Anderson, founder and CEO of United Kingdom-based BrightLocal, which provides search engine optimization, reputation management and citation/online listings management for businesses and brands.

 Business data can originate from many sources, including the U.S. Postal Service, business groups, local consumers and data aggregators, and as sites "crawl" each other to find and confirm data, incorrect  information on a prominent site can spread and quickly trickle through to other sites, Anderson says.

BrightLocal's "Local Citations Trust Report," which surveyed 1,025 U.S.-based consumers on all types of business listings, including directories such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and Angie's List, shows that consumers are most likely to blame the business for incorrect data, and ultimately it's the business that suffers, Anderson says. 

He finds the most common errors in online business listings stem from incorrect names, addresses and phone numbers.

Most businesses have 20 percent to 40 percent  of their information online inaccurately, says John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility, an internet marketing firm in San Diego.

There are services like BrightLocal that will help you track and manage your listings and amend errors. Others also include Uberall, Yext, Moz Local or Rio SEO, says Lincoln, who uses Uberall and Moz to manage his own customers' listings.

He advises businesses to make sure their information is correct on some of the top listing sites like Yelp, Bing Places, Google My Business, Apple Maps and Facebook and then consider employing one of  the local listing services to ensure secondary directories are accurate.

You need to claim your business profile on these listings sites (there is usually an option to do that) or set up a profile if it hasn't yet been created, Lincoln says.

Keep in mind there are hundreds of business listing sites and online directories, says Jason Sidana, CEO of Midknight Genius, a digital marketing and web development agency in Farmingdale.

If you update the main ones, the details might trickle down to others over time, but that's not guaranteed, and it's important to be vigilant, he says, noting he uses Site Booster to manage client listings.

The more information you can add to your listing the better, Sidana says. Adding photos can be helpful, even a 360-degree view of  your store on  your Google business page.

His client Manny Singh, owner of Worthy footwear and apparel stores in Hicksville and Westbury, did that and says it has had good results.

It gives customers a view of what's inside the store and  piques their interest, says Singh, noting customers will mention they saw the store on Google.

Some listing sites even allow you to add a short profile of your business or coupons, says Andrew Catalano, chief digital officer of the Austin Williams ad agency in Hauppauge.

Generally speaking, the more information you have on a listing, the higher the likelihood the listing will show up at the top of search engine results, he says.

The risk of not claiming your profile on a site is that you could have dozens of different profile pages created by customers who may have checked into your location on social media, he says. This could result in inaccuracies if you don't claim the profile pages. 

Fast Fact:

FAST FACT

93%

Percentage of consumers who said they are frustrated by incorrect information in online directories

Source: BrightLocal

How Vue.ai is transforming the business of online fashion through AI - Business Standard

Posted: 05 May 2019 09:40 AM PDT

Have you ever wondered how an online fashion portal automatically comes up with the right mix of clothes for you? How does it decide as to which cloth should be pitched to a particular individual through online ads? The answer is artificial intelligence (AI).

Just like every other field from social media to banking and finance, the fashion industry is embracing AI — computer systems that can learn for themselves and carry out tasks that were once the preserve of humans — in order to create new designs, better manage inventory, improve product discovery and to connect with ...

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