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Media General Partners with Groupon For Local Deals

Newspaper publisher Media General has teamed up with Groupon in hopes of driving new traffic to their associated newspaper websites. They’ve started with the Richmond Times-Dispatch and have labeled the offering the “Richmond Daily Deal.” Groupon gets a “powered by” in the logo.

The deals work just as the do on the Groupon website with some slight graphical twists and obviously a much more local focus. When you click on the “buy now” link, you’re taken to the main Groupon website where you can sign in with your Groupon account or Facebook login. It’s assumed that the two companies are splitting the profits but there’s no word on who is making out on the higher end of the deal.

AdKeeper Lets You Rip Out Ads the Modern Way

I’m a magazine ripper. I admit it and I know it’s not something everyone understands, but it’s how I roll. As I read my favorite magazines, I rip out recipes, coupons, the occasional photo of a good looking guy (hey, all work and no play. . . ) and I rip out ads.

With the holidays coming, I’ve been ripping more ads than ever so I was very intrigued when I saw the recent ClickZ article on AdKeeper. AdKeeper is an online service that allows you to virtually rip out the ads you see online. Scott Kurnit, founder and former CEO of About.com, is the man behind the plan. He commissioned a study and found that 95% of people tear ads out of magazines, so it appears I’m not alone in this. His logic is anytime you can bring an offline behavior online, you’ve got a winner.

Forty Percent of Groupon Merchants Say Never Again

Last month, we reported on a story of a Portland Cafe owner who claims she lost thousands of dollars doing business with popular deal site Groupon. Some people sided with her, others said she mishandled the situation and Groupon said her story wasn’t typical. But is it?

The folks at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University wanted to find out, so they did a small study to see if merchants were generally happy with their Groupon experience. The study, which was reported on by The Wall Street Journal and other sources polled 150 merchants who had placed deals with Groupon.

ShopLocal Adds Wish List Component

Have you made your holiday gift list yet? Not the list of things you need to buy for others, the list of things you want other people to buy for you. ShopLocal is making it easier with a new gizmo they’re adding that connects their Smart Circulars to Facebook, natch.

I couldn’t find a picture of the “Gift Me This” widget in action, but it’s likely just a rebranded version of the graphic you see right here. When a consumer flips through the online version of a ShopLocal circular, they have the ability to choose items and send them to Facebook. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to spread the word about a bonus offer on a DVD from Best Buy or a cool deal on recyclable paper at Staples.

Cause Marketing Creates Consumer Loyalty

Ford announced yesterday, that it’s teaming up with Web radio station Pandora for a new cause marketing campaign involving Jewel and John Legend. The program surrounds Ford’s new Sync system that allows you to stream audio from a mobile device through the car’s speakers. When consumers visit Pandora they’ll be asked to share songs from either of the two artists and for each song shared, Ford and Pandora will make a donation to charity.

According to a survey by Cone LLC, as reported on by Adweek, this move will help endear Ford to car buying consumers. 41% of the people surveyed this past July said that they’ve purchased a product or service because it was associated with a cause. 85% went so far as to say “When a product or company supports a cause I care about, I have a more positive image of the product or company.” More than half the people said a donation to a cause would make them willing to “try a new brand or one they’ve never heard of.” That’s a huge kick to brand loyalty.

Retailers Seeing Social Media Value

Retailers have been using social media to their benefit. It seems, however, as if they took this path not because they could lure more people to them but because that’s where the people were already. Not exactly cutting edge thinking (since reacting to a situation rather than creating a need is less desirable) but it is what it is.

eMarketer reports on a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group that gives some insight into retailers and their use of social media. First, a look at why they are there in the first place.

comScore Ranks Top 10 Gaining Site Categories

Back-to-school and the approaching football season helped books, sports and apparel gain a foothold in August says comScore Media Metrics. The new report takes a look at US web activity in the month leading to a list of the top 50 web properties and the top ten categories.

Retail book sites were the biggest winners in August with an 11% percent increase of July as folks left the beaches and went back-to-school. While Barnes & Noble continues to close brick and mortar stores, their online site was the most visited in this category. 8.3 million people stopped by, up 13% from July.

Staples.com rose 5% which they attribute to school supply shopping. Office Depot rose 20% and OfficeMax rose 32% but is still well behind in total shoppers.