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Carl Van Ostrand

VP Consumer Insights, DISQO
15+ years in market research Currently working on combining proprietary panel and in-house software to measure new depths / reaches of consumer behavioral data
  • Posted on: 07/15/2019

    Can the Publix customer service experience be brought online?

    One other issue with not having a loyalty program is the lack of customer data that can be applied to track, measure, and improve customer experience and sales. Especially in a digital environment.
  • Posted on: 03/04/2019

    What will Amazon do with a conventional grocery banner?

    There is an interesting "data" and brand play here too - more app users, more conventional brick-and-mortar shoppers, more members - it extends reach and pulls more people in to the marketing loop. With all of that behavioral data (mobile, desktop), they can market to and pull customers across channels. It's a longer play -- I don't think they are doing this to sell more apples and watermelons, or even turn a profit per location.
  • Posted on: 12/27/2018

    What are the takeaways from the best holiday season in six years?

    "Retailers who can offer the easiest shopping experience, whether through excellent use of data to anticipate shoppers’ needs or by providing an option for picking up products at brick-and-mortar stores, are the ones people are flocking to.” I like this quote -- curious as to the trajectory of "pickup" gift-buying statically vs. simply getting it super-fast shipped to door. Are the 'losers' this year the ones that offer only one or neither option? That probably also varies quite a bit by category.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Is Amazon on the right path to improved product discovery with Scout?

    I might be in the minority here, but I feel like this has some legs. I played around with it (searching for a patio bench) and it did fairly well at creating a set of benches that I liked. I am not sure if it was actually a more efficient way to search than a more standard filtering process, but I didn't hate it, in terms of a shopping experience. Then I saw, "women's shoes" as a category, and I thought, "oh my, my wife would love this." In our heads, in some categories more so than others, I feel this is akin to our process as we walk down an isle in a store — it's a yes/no/maybe decision set.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2018

    Toys ‘R’ Us to rise from the ashes of bankruptcy, but should it?

    Good ideas. Maybe take some of the best pages from the FAO Schwarz book.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2018

    Trader Joe’s success is a matter of values

    I find this interesting as well. Because while they absolutely have a unique set of values/products and are always staying creative, I wonder how they will enter (or if they will enter) an online marketplace. I also find many of their products strangely challenging to open properly, but that's a different issue.
  • Posted on: 09/05/2018

    Nike campaign tests ‘all publicity is good publicity’ adage

    Good points. At its core, advertising is still all about sales and effectiveness. So I am waiting for a report that somehow shows shopper and sales volume on the heels of this ad campaign. :) That said, there are larger, grander "plays" being made here to spark discussion and be at the center of it. And yes there are also larger more serious controversies with both the NFL and Nike as entities.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2018

    Are stock-up grocery trips becoming a thing of the past?

    Yes, plus if you're ordering -- say paper goods -- online, you actually don't even need to purchase bulk to get the discount. You can just "subscribe" to it. So for everyone living in a city, or low on storage, it's the best of all scenarios. And if you're in suburbia, the free/2-day shipping is huge time benefit. It's hard for me to look at the landscapes and the demographic data and not imagine that every major category besides "fresh" has major online upside. Big categories like household, snacks, beverage, condiments, pet care, etc. -- why not online?
  • Posted on: 08/20/2018

    Are stock-up grocery trips becoming a thing of the past?

    Agree, and also potentially worth noting that lots of those "stock up" items and packaged goods can be bought easily online with added convenience and potentially better prices. You also don't need to buy 100 rolls of paper towels because the shipping is free and you can now subscribe to save even more.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2018

    Gallup poll says consumers prefer to shop for their own groceries

    Agree, segmentation by category tells a more interesting story. There is greater adoption of categories like pet care and household goods/personal care. Vitamins, supplements, snacks, etc. We can see this with passive behavioral data. Produce/frozen will likely have the toughest uphill battle for obvious reasons, but what happens when 20% of consumers are buying the majority of their groceries online and then making a quick stop at the local deli for some ground beef and apples? Will that be noteworthy? There is a lot more depth to this conversation when we start looking at demographic (geography is a big one) and category segmentation. I personally lean towards their being a lot more upside in grocery pickup and delivery.
  • Posted on: 08/10/2018

    Party City to run pilot with Amazon, ‘the world’s largest and most trafficked mall’

    Seems like a wise move. Millions of internet searches for Halloween costumes will inevitably journey through Amazon. Party City, don't forget to measure the exercise and success so it's quantifiable and can be optimized next time. Not just sales, but also demos, path-to-purchase, etc.
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