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Ken Wyker

President, Circular Logic
  • Posted on: 01/20/2023

    Will Lowe’s become birthday party central for kids?

    This has so many elements that make it a smart and strategic move. The impact of this will be in the emotional connection the kids and their parents will have with Lowe's. Lowe's is planting the seeds now of a stronger business in the future.
  • Posted on: 01/20/2023

    Bite-sized content tests bring Dick’s impressive results

    I 100 percent agree with the approach to bite-size tests. Effective personalization isn't achieved through simply customizing which products the customer sees on the website -- it is the result of a combination of factors that all work together to connect with the customer and help them along the purchase journey. Bite-sized tests allow the team to evaluate the impact of more nuanced changes to the customer communication to optimize customer engagement and response. Elements such as layout, message tone, visuals and promotional messaging can best be optimized if they are evaluated in smaller, narrowly-focused tests.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2022

    Will 2023 become the year that consumers get comfortable with dynamic pricing?

    The only fluctuating prices that consumers trust are the ones that go down. The problem is when retailers see dynamic pricing as a way to boost margins by raising prices in certain situations or for certain customers. That is where the concept has risk. Even customers that don't watch prices will be frustrated that their prices have been increased. Short term or limited availability discounts are well accepted methods of achieving dynamic pricing that don't risk alienating customers. Importantly, they can also be targeted/personalized to particular customers or times of day, days of week, stock status, etc. With direct, one-to-one customer communication of promotional prices via email or an app, retailers can deliver a version of dynamic pricing that avoids backlash and in fact improves customer price perception.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2022

    Are ads causing shoppers to lose faith in Amazon search results?

    Every retailer diving deep into the retail media waters should be paying attention to this. I am a huge proponent of maximizing retail media revenue, but the gold rush is resulting in generic or poorly personalized ads being placed in optimal locations while the items the customer wants are moved down a bit.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2022

    Do grocers have a price perception problem?

    The stats on customer perceptions of higher price increases and retailer profits convey a sense of frustration among customers that they feel alone in their struggle. While focusing on pricing is an obvious priority, this is also a time to focus on connecting emotionally with customers. Retailers can be vocal about their recognition of the challenges facing their customers and convey a "we're in this together" message with tangible actions to back it up. The effort to share the short term pain and strengthen the emotional connection with customers will pay off with more long-term customer loyalty.
  • Posted on: 09/30/2022

    Are younger generations less creeped out by online personalization?

    Personalization options:
    1. Using third-party data from other sources to TARGET the customer: Creep factor = HIGH
    2. Using first-party data that the customer provides to SERVE the customer: Creep factor = LOW
  • Posted on: 09/27/2022

    Is the customer really the most important thing in retail?

    You nailed it, Nikki! The problem isn't the focus, it's the objective. Too many retailers focus on targeting the customer to get them to do what the retailer wants. It is far more effective to view the situation from the customer's point of view and work toward creating an environment that nurtures the customer relationship and makes it easy and rewarding for customers to get what they want from you.
  • Posted on: 08/26/2022

    Transactional reward programs are easy, but do they build customer loyalty?

    The key to tapping into the power of loyalty marketing is emotional connection with the customer. That means the optimal reward structure will vary by retailer based on the nature of their relationship with their customers. A promotionally oriented retailer like Bath & Body Works can strengthen the emotional bond with customers by sweetening the deal or making it easier for customers to find the best deals. A retailer that is more aspirational and less price focused like Sephora will be better served by helping their customers discover new products and ideas. The key is to deliver value in a way that strengthens the bond with your customer.
  • Posted on: 06/27/2022

    Are outsized private label gains in grocery a foregone conclusion?

    Taking a customer-centric approach, Jeff's experience is similar to millions of customers that are feeling more open and willing to experiment and try a store brand item. To the extent customers have the same "better than I expected" response as Jeff did to the trial, store brand share will improve. Store brands compete for the mind of the customer and if the underlying quality is there, gaining trial is the secret sauce in their long term growth.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2022

    Which personalization techniques work best?

    The problem with most personalization is the mindset of using the data to sell something as opposed to serving the customer. Customers don't want companies to market to them better, they want them to leverage what they know to make it easy for them to get what they want. Adapting the timing of sending emails may feel like personalization because it is using customer response data, but is it really making anything better for the customer? The time to be customer-centric is when designing what personalization should look like. What would YOU genuinely like to see a brand or retailer do to make your experience better or make it easier for you to buy from them? When you adopt the approach that a customer's purchase and browsing history can be leveraged to serve the customer, it opens up a whole new set of ways to leverage your data. It's also the kind of personalization that connects with customers and drives sales and loyalty.
  • Posted on: 04/21/2022

    Are price freezes and pledges worthwhile in inflationary climates?

    Both messages will resonate with customers because they are not simply price messages. They are message of empathy that demonstrate an understanding of the stress and concerns their customers are feeling. This is powerful marketing that connects with customers on an emotional level.
  • Posted on: 03/18/2022

    Will retailers stop the presses on print circulars?

    It's important to note that the weekly circular isn't going away -- it's the physical printing of the circular that is declining. For grocery retailers, the print circular is like the tip of an iceberg. Behind the circular is a massive promotional infrastructure that involves marketing, category management, distribution, and the ad department as well as their CPG partners that are the funding source not only for the discounts, but also to help cover printing costs. The underlying processes to generate promotional offers have not gone away, retailers are just discovering more effective and efficient ways of communicating those offers. Digital communication and the incredible power of personalization and offer curation is where smart retailers are investing their savings from reducing print.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2021

    Whole Foods goes from free to $10 grocery delivery fee for Amazon Prime members

    How many times has it been said that free delivery is "table stakes" and that retailers should eat the cost of their e-commerce activities to remain competitive? I think the real news here is that even Amazon realizes that free delivery doesn't make financial sense for grocery. As we move beyond the pandemic-driven e-commerce boom, grocery retailers will want to encourage customers to come back to the stores as Whole Foods is doing here.
  • Posted on: 09/01/2021

    Ending prices that end in 99 cents

    It seems to me that the results of the study are being interpreted in an odd way. The headline suggests that 95 or 99 cent pricing backfires by discouraging upgrades, but the results actually prove that the pricing works to create a sense of value. What is really going on here is a demonstration of the impact of "framing" which considers how we humans perceive pricing based on how it is presented. Consumers gauge the value of each item based on how it is priced relative to other options. It shouldn't surprise anyone that increasing the perceived price of the small coffee makes the upgrade to the large coffee seem like a more reasonable choice. The same dynamic is what drove the Williams Sonoma bread maker sales in the story that Jenn mentioned, but it worked in the opposite direction. With the bread makers, the existence of the more expensive product made the mid-tier option seem like a better choice.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2021

    Email marketing drives sales results and sometimes drives customers away

    I love Phil's suggestion to sign up your spouse as it gets to the root of the challenge and that is providing valuable content. Email marketing is fundamentally different from other promotional efforts because the customer is in control. Too many retail marketers approach email marketing with their own objectives in mind, which causes them to fail to deliver on what the customer wants. When customers don't feel served or rewarded, they stop opening emails. The secret is to make sure that every time the customer opens an email from you, they feel rewarded and served. That's where personalization comes in. Personalization can take regular promotional messages and make them feel more like a customer service.
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