Weekly Roundup #124 – Supermarkets, Eyes & Groups

Scroll down for five of the best stories from the world of digital marketing – or click here to catch up on last weeks stories, that included how ‘Design Thinking’ can improve customer experience, 5 tips for creating content and how AI will change marketing mix modelling.

Read on for the latest on the following:


The Future of the Supermarket

future supermarket

Alibaba, and Amazon are the tech giants that are shaping the world, and so by looking at their actions it becomes possible to see what changes we can expect.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. launched Hema in 2016, which is a high-tech combination of grocery shopping, dining, and bricks and mortar, that sees a traditional supermarket, a restaurant and services to fulfil online orders all in one place. All served by the Hema app for easy payment in all three elements.

Currently they have 57 stores, which is set to grow to 100 by early 2019. has launched 7Fresh, as its response to Hema, which offers similar services and products. There are two stores in Beijing at the moment, which is predicted to become hundreds in the next couple of years.

Following the trend, Inc purchased Whole Foods for $13.7 billion last year, and they launched Amazon Go (the grocery store without traditional checkouts) in January 2018.

All of these developments point to a huge change for grocery shopping in the near future. Traditional grocery stores need to keep up with the array of ever-changing payment methods, the rise of the no-frills supermarket (such as Aldi and Lidl) and new online grocery services – but these high-tech grocery stores may change the game altogether.

Chinese companies have been experimenting with robotic trolleys and new ways to navigate around the store – and now Hema has added the dining experience to grocery shopping. A Hema store in Shanghai lets customers pick their main course from the store (in person, or using their phone), which is cooked and sent over to their table by a robot – creating a novel and exciting dining experience at the supermarket.

There are predictions that these high-tech supermarkets could become like mini-malls, with laundry and beauty elements as well as the restaurant, delivery hub and grocery store all under one roof.

This may be the way that Amazon transforms Whole Foods, as they have yet to make any significant changes to the supermarket – so watch this space…


How Eye Movement may be the Next Big Thing in Marketing

Eye movement marketing

New research uses high-tech machine learning algorithms to link eye movement to the personality and mood of an individual.

Developed by the University of South Australia, the University of Stuttgart, Flinders University and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics the research is set to improve interactions between humans and bots.

By using special glasses, the researchers discovered important insights for social robotics and social signal processing. Dr Tobias Loetscher noted that,

“There’s certainly the potential for these findings to improve human-machine interactions […] People are always looking for improved, personalised services.

“However, today’s robots and computers are not socially aware, so they cannot adapt to non-verbal cues […] This research provides opportunities to develop robots and computers so that they can become more natural, and better at interpreting human social signals.”

The technology can reliably recognise four of the ‘Big Five’ personality traits – extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness and agreeableness – and the eye movements also reveal whether the individual is curious, conscientious or sociable.

Loetscher further explained that,

“The predictive power is relatively modest at this stage. Eye movements wouldn’t be enough on its own, it would need to be combined with voice or facial recognition for the robot to understand what the humans are feeling.

“It would need to be a combination of a few things, rather than just eye movement. But the technology is improving all the time.

“There is also the problem of invasion of privacy around this kind of technology, that’s a big issue for marketers to consider as they move forward.”


WhatsApp Introduces a New Ad Service

Whatsapp Adverts

WhatsApp has announced that it will launch a pay-to-use ad service that brands can use to engage directly with their customers on mobile devices. This launch offers a revenue stream to the popular messaging app – owned by Facebook – who removed their subscription fee in 2016.

The new service is reported to cost between 0.3p up to 7p per message – depending on the country that it is being sent to – which makes it a more expensive option than SMS messages, for example. WhatsApp hopes to encourage businesses to use its service because there is more opportunity for dialogue and conversation with the customer who has received the information or update, such as information about deliveries or event tickets. Also, replies by the business within a 24 hour period will be free of charge.

A WhatsApp blog post noted that, “Since we launched the WhatsApp Business app people have told us that it’s quicker and easier to chat with a business than making a call or sending an email […] Today we are expanding our support for businesses that need more powerful tools to communicate with their customers.”

The WhatsApp service will be an opt-in service for customers, who can choose toe receive their tickets, delivery confirmation or other updates via WhatsApp. Another element of this launch is the ‘Click-to-Chat’ button that will be available to businesses to add to their website or Facebook ads, which means that customers can send a quick and informal message to the company with their query; and currently Uber, Wish and are using the service.

WhatsApp has reassured users that their messages to businesses will be secured with the same end-to-end encryption as all of their other messages on the platform, and unwanted communications from companies and businesses may be quickly and easily blocked, with the click of a button.


Mobile is the Top Driver for Small Business Digital Spending

ecommerce mobile applications

It is a well-known observation in marketing that keeping a customer costs less than adding a new one. As such, ‘retention marketing’ is vital for any business, as its aim is to keep customers happy and loyal to the brand.

Here we take a look at some of the best retention marketing strategies:


Segmenting your customers into useful groups is invaluable for online businesses. Consider the following questions when segmenting your audience:

  • What is their purchasing activity? If it has been a long time since their last purchase, perhaps email them the new catalogue as a reminder.
  • Did they use a coupon for their last purchase? If so, then send another promo code
  • Do they tend to buy similar products? If so, use this information to recommend other products that they may like.
  • Did they abandon their cart? If so, send a reminder email to jog their memory
  • Who are your highest-value customers? Consider thanking them for their brand loyalty, and send an exclusive deal, code or coupon…


Make the most of each email in your mailing list. Email is very low cost, so we take a look at the different types of email that make up a retention marketing strategy:

Welcome email

This email should introduce the company, restate the value that its products/services add, and establish a friendly and human tone. The email subject should make it clear that it is a welcome to the brand, so make sure to use the word ‘welcome’ or ‘hello’.

Remember to personalise the email where possible, let the customer know what to expect from the mail-outs and emphasise the importance of your customer support service.

Nurture email

This email is not aiming to make a sale, instead it is meant to build your business’s brand. Send information and educational materials, reinforce the value proposition of the products and make your business seem relatable and friendly.

Promotional email

The goal of these emails is to make a conversion, so design the email so that the promotional offer is the focus – and include a call-to-action button.

A countdown or limited availability offer creates excitement and urgency, and make sure to let customers know the reason for the offer (a celebration, a milestone or a thank you).

Abandoned cart email

This email aims to recover some of the lost sales through cart abandonment. Send the first email shortly after the cart has been left as a reminder for those who were distracted during the payment process.

Send a follow-up with a discount code or free-shipping offer as this may clinch the deal.

Watch your Competition

An important part of your strategy is to understand what your competition is doing. Identify your competition and sign up for their mailing list (perhaps set up a dedicated folder in the inbox to receive these).

Examine the good and bad of your competitions email strategy, and adapt your own to reflect these insights.


Some further steps to consider include:

  • Emails that are optimised for mobile
  • Sending mail at the right time of day for your customers
  • Remember not to bombard people on your mailing list – often, less is more


How to Make your Facebook Group more Popular

Facebook Groups

A thriving Facebook group can be very beneficial to a business, as it can become the place for an exciting and vibrant online community. A Facebook group should be full of large numbers of people who are in your target audience, and the aim of the group is to build a community around a brand.

A successful group will see the brand sharing entertaining, engaging and relevant content and, in turn, users that return regularly to consume this content. Having a group of people who check your group on a daily basis is not far fetched, as Facebook has over 2 billion daily active users that can be tapped into.

A group will only be successful if there are lots of members, so we take a look at six ways to increase membership…

Reach Out

Reach out to those who are most interested in the brand, and what it has to say. Invite all of those who are already on your mailing list to join the Facebook group.

As well as inviting those on the mailing list to join, also add the group to your welcome email, and link to it in the email signature and at the bottom of any newsletters.


An opt-in pop-up on your site is a great way to promote a new group, as it will be seen by all visitors to your site. Another way to grab attention and move people towards the group is with an exit-intent pop-up that will catch the user just before leaving the site…

External Marketing

Pinterest has many of their own thriving groups, and so it is a great place to market a Facebook group. Share your pin on group boards as well as the brand’s own boards – and find relevant groups that have a large following with a group board directory tool, such as PinGroupie.


As well as marketing the Facebook group in social media posts, consider pinning this post to the top of the profile, which can be done in Facebook and Twitter. The increased visibility will help grow the following, and eliminates the need to do multiple posts about the same thing.

For readers of your blogs or content, it can be useful to link to the group within the text, as this makes it easy for them to click-through.

Other ways to promote the group include: in the sidebar on a blog, by creating a landing page for it, adding a floating bar to the homepage or even add it to the navigation menu…


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Sebastian Paszek

Marketing manager

Controlling the chaos of the digital landscape, Sebastian is a multiplatform executive, project manager and photographer.