A Shopper is not JUST a Shopper

Shopper Is Only Part of the Story

The notion of shopper marketing has dramatically changed….and, has thrived in helping brands guide shoppers through a new dynamic retail, helping them make decisions in a world of blurring value provided by retailers and freedom of ecommerce and mobile.

But looking at, inside and around the shopper is no longer enough.

Today’s retail experience (in and out of store) is so seamless and immersive that addressing a target as a shopper alone is outdated.

The new reality: people act in 4 modes (as consumers, shoppers, influencers and buyers) almost simultaneously and all in the quest to do one thing…fulfill their wants and needs on their terms.

We’ve all heard or seen a similar scenario…someone sees a cool pair of shoes via a billboard. They go online to shop for price and availability. They then go to the store to try them on. Once they have made a decision, they will either buy in-store or go back online to purchase at a lower price. Finally, they post, tweet, text and pin to share the “news”, talking about their “win” and experience.

This is the 4 modes of a target at work. The Consumer is exposed to the product and determines the desire or need; the shopper explores online and at the store; the buyer finds the most convenient channel to purchase; and the influencer shares out and creates an impression. A great example of what we, at TPN, call a Modal Dialog™, where a brand creates relevant encounters with their target based on the target’s demands throughout their journey.

But what does that mean for Shopper Marketing? As marketers, we need to consider the opportunity created by all 4 modes:

  • What is the shopper dynamic and how can we remove barriers, optimize the process, and elevate the experience?
  • Is there consumer value (health benefits, quality, badge value) that would help overcome a shopper hurdle (price, convenience, navigation)?
  • Is there potential for a shopper to transition to influencer and share out information?
  • Are there incremental purchase facilitators (physical or virtual) which could help the brand and/or retailer in closing the sale with the buyer?

Individuals are in control of how they ultimately engage with content and vehicle(s) that brands and marketers create. Embracing the notion of the 4 modes will help brands effectively interact with a target as they navigate the environment, allowing marketers to holistically address a target’s needs and results in greater engagement. And at the end of the day, isn’t that the goal of shopper marketing?

From the Westside: Fast Food…delivered?

Taking the corporate slogan “Have It Your Way” to extremes, a Burger King franchise in Glendale, CA, is now delivering food directly to consumers.

While similar delivery programs exist in Miami, Washington and Houston, this is the first franchise in the state of California to offer delivery. Taking cues from the pizza delivery model, the food is packed in a container that keeps food hot and, most importantly, prevents fries from getting soggy.

At this time, food can only be delivered within a 10 minute radius of the restaurant, but other locations plan to add delivery if this test is successful. Fast food delivery might be a novelty in the US but it’s popular in several countries – for example, in the Philippines, McDonald’s delivers 24 hours a day! Burger King is also eyeing other US cities for quick roll-out of delivery, including Chicago and San Francisco.

Delivery allows Burger King to differentiate themselves in a crowded fast food/QSR marketplace. While many restaurants and services deliver, Burger King is the first restaurant of its kind to offer this service. Additionally, the ease of delivery appeals to the coveted Male 18-34 demographic. While other restaurants are moving into niche areas, such as healthy eating, Burger King has opted for a broad menu offering with the ultimate in convenience.


Hershey Empowers Shoppers

The Hershey Company will now be labeling calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving, printed on the front of all product packs beginning in the second-half of 2013. The Hershey Company along with members of Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the NCA are voluntarily implementing front of pack labeling, representing 80 percent of retail food and beverage products.

While not everyone wants to know the good and bad of what they are really eating, Hershey’s move to be more transparent shows they are truly in tune with the times and trends of today’s marketplace. At a time when consumers are paying more attention than ever to ingredients and labels, this is a smart move for Hershey.

As consumers and shoppers are more skeptical than ever, transparency can go a long way in building loyalty. Front of pack labeling provides consumers with straightforward information that enables them to make informed food and beverage decisions when shopping. By offering an easy-to-find calorie label on candy, Hershey is empowering shoppers to make informed choices they can feel good about.

For more information, visit ConfectioneryNews.com

Reaching a new target: The role packaging can play

Budweiser is introducing a new beer can that will mirror the shape of its logo. The can will not replace the traditional beer can design and will only be available within the US. This particular design is considered to be the optimum meeting point of fashion and function, due to the relatively inflexible nature of aluminium.

The company’s latest innovation comes as an attempt to solidify their reign as one of the world’s most notable brands, something that can’t be compared to every other beer can on the market as well as a push to generate relevancy with a new generation of beer drinkers. This idea comes as another indication that the company is committed to innovating — their crowdsourced “Black Crown” design being a great example of recent success with a new idea.

We’ll be watching Budweiser to see how the new packaging will affect younger consumers’ perception of the iconic brand.

One thing is for sure: brands like Budweiser have big challenges when it comes to balancing the act of finding ways to reach a new generation without alienating an existing one. Packaging is a smart way to start. This new package design shows a younger target that Budweiser as a brand is innovative and in turn, something they want to be associated with.

NRF Redefines Retail

The National Retail Federation recently launched the first phase of its This is Retail campaign to counter many of the misconceptions around retail. The NRF hopes to tell the Real story on retail and its critical role in driving innovation.

Retailers are driving innovation to pave the way for quicker access to products, smarter shopping through mobile, and better customer experiences. Why? Because their customers demand it.


Look for more to come in this summer!


Amazon Targets 50+ Crowd

As Antoinette Alexander points out in RetailingToday, Online retailer, Amazon, has launched its 50+ Active and Healthy Living Store, featuring hundreds of thousands of nutrition, wellness, exercise/fitness, medical, personal care, beauty, entertainment items and more — all in a single destination for customers in the 50+ age range.

By using algorithms, Amazon can determine who among its customers are 50+, what they’ve already bought and then offer them products based on the data.

It’s about time a retailer embraced the needs of this consumer segment.

Understanding the shift in buying habits shows that Amazon realizes the impact that this generation continues to have when it comes to consumer spending.

Well done, Amazon.

From the Westside: Fresh & Easy Exits US Market

It comes as no surprise to many retail watchers that British parent company Tesco announced this morning that it will attempt to sell all 200 Fresh & Easy stores, located in California, Arizona and Nevada. Incredibly, the chain did not make any money during its 5-year duration in the US.

It’s an unfortunate situation for the small-format, innovative stores that launched in 2007 with high hopes for bringing fresh food to “food deserts,” or areas that were underserved by supermarket and grocery store chains. Initial plans were to launch 1,000 stores in California & other western states before expanding east. Those plans were scaled down due to the economic climate as well as lack of performance & profit.

Why did Fresh & Easy fail? Theories abound. Primarily, the US grocery market is competitive, with well-established banners under Kroger, Safeway, and SuperValu brands.There’s also increased competition from high-end/specialty/independent grocery chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, as well as the rise of mass-market retailers with grocery components, notably Walmart and Target.

Fresh & Easy also pursued a self-service check-out model that was not popular with consumers who are used to cashiers, especially for high-volume, check-out intensive purchases. The chain also did not offer vouchers or coupons, which US grocery shoppers are accustomed to. In fact, many grocery chains highlight their coupon program as the primary draw for shoppers, even offering shopping incentives such as double coupons. Fresh & Easy also made a push to sell ready-made meals which were not necessarily compatible with local shoppers and their habits, mainly because shoppers in the west tend to grocery shop once a week and look for a wide range of products rather than shopping more frequently, where they’d be more inclined to shop for a grab-and-go/ready-made product.

Finally, Fresh & Easy launched with a high percentage of private label brands and a reduced SKU assortment in the center of the store. Many consumers were unable to find the brands they were used to purchasing, leading to frustration and an additional shopping trip. Many shoppers willing to give the new concept a try visited once and never returned.

Ultimately, the store failed to find it’s niche in the competitive US grocery landscape and solve a real need for consumers. It tried to introduce a new way of shopping that wasn’t compatible with US shopper needs, desires or patterns.

Retail analyst Neil Saunders of Conlumino in London said “Retail history will likely record Tesco’s American foray as something of an unfortunate misadventure.”

7-Eleven Launches Innovative Category Management System

Yesterday, 7-Eleven and IRI (Information Resources, Inc. — the global leader in innovative solutions and services for consumer and retailer companies) announced the launch of 7-Eleven’s new Next Generation™ solution, allowing 7-Eleven “faster access and more granular insight” to what 7-Eleven consumers are buying.

As pointed out in the recent press release from IRI:

This new solution will help ensure 7-Eleven and subscribing manufacturer partners work from a “single version of the truth” for such things as identical basket-level transaction data, promotion optimization, trip-mission segments, store segmentation, same store and time-of-day information. This approach will facilitate collaboration and accelerate return on investment for joint activities.

7-Eleven is the first convenience retailer to share basket-level transaction data with its partners through this program. By sharing insights, the retailer and manufacturers will be able to drill down to more detail about the 7 million shoppers coming through its doors and be able to create custom programs based on the data.

I’m looking forward to watching 7-Eleven as they continue to innovate and lead the industry in finding new, unique ways to reach, engage and truly build a dialog with their consumers and shoppers.

Could Facebook Autoplay Ads Be Tipping Point?

It’s no secret that Facebook has enjoyed phenomenal growth in the past five years while at the same time trying to find a way to monetize that audience and bring in revenue to justify the (continually falling) stock price. Their latest attempt at harnessing the user base will be ads running on either side of your new feed, to launch early next year. Where observers are predicting the downfall of this idea is in the way Facebook wants to implement those ads: as autoplay video commercials that will launch automatically once you load the page:

In what’s sure to be a controversial move, the visual component of the Facebook video ads will start playing automatically — a dynamic known as “autoplay” — according to two of the executives. Facebook is still debating whether to have the audio component of the ads activated automatically as well, one of these people said.

On the desktop version of Facebook, the video ads are expected to grab a user’s attention by expanding out of the news feed into webpage real estate in both the left and right columns — or rails — of the screen. Facebook is also working on a way to ensure that the video ads stand out on the mobile apps as well, though it is unclear how exactly the company will accomplish this. (Some details about the video-ad plans remain vague and could change as Facebook gets more feedback from clients.)

Advertisers will be able to shows their video ads to desktop users of Facebook, but Facebook has been highlighting the mobile versions of the product in meetings with ad agencies, demonstrating the product on both tablets and mobile phones. Advertisers will be able to show the same video ad to a Facebook user up to three times a day across various devices, two of the executives said.

All of the executives interviewed view the new video ad product as a blatant attempt on Facebook’s part to wrest big ad dollars from TV budgets. Ad agencies have plenty of TV spots and increasingly want to extend their reach on the web. But TV-like inventory on the web is scarce, which is why ad rates at places such as Hulu are so high.

I can’t see this as a good idea. It’s even possible that Facebook has leaked this info themselves as a trial balloon. Alienating the base that is starting to leave your service anyway is not a way to inspire brand loyalty for those who might purchase ads. And advertisers should think twice about what the cost of unexpected consequences will be for their brands if they do hand this audience such an intrusive experience.

Go check out AdAge for the rest of the story.

Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign Leads to Real Brand Loyalty

For a while now, I’ve been following with great interest Unilever’s Dove Real Beauty Campaign.

When it first started running in ‘04, their original ads were met with some criticism and snide remarks. Some publications wouldn’t even take the ads. “What? You want us to run ads with REAL women?? … of every shape and size?!”

But, Dove was brave (and still is). They stayed the course, and that is where brand loyalty is born. I switched to Dove after that campaign came out because, as shoppers, we vote with our wallets and I wanted to vote for Dove. I wanted to support a company dedicated to a new and profound “truth in advertising” and one that was intent on changing the unreasonable definition that our society had given to what beauty is and looks like.

On Monday, Dove posted their latest extension of this campaign on YouTube via a 3-minute ad — an experiment to reveal the way women view themselves.

There are so many things that strike me about this campaign.

From a strictly marketing standpoint, Dove has completely created, and now owns, the concept of BEAUTY. They have redefined a notion that had become very skewed, unattainable and unhealthy. Talk about establishing a brand as an authority in its space. Whoa.

Getting to the core of a target’s mind-set and emotions, in addition to understanding their behavior, and then creating something that is so inherently relevant and authentic is to be commended.

Understanding that women are their own worst beauty critics (only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful), the brand leveraged this insight into a positive and very moving experience for women.

From a strictly human perspective, Dove reaches into the hearts and psyches of women, showing us, again, how mean and unfair we can be to ourselves. I often say to those around me that I wish they could see themselves through my eyes. They would see how great/beautiful/kind they are.

Watching this latest experiment/ad, feeling a squishy discomfort, realizing what they were out to prove, makes me think I might need to take my own advice! Don’t you wonder what the drawing of your face would be if you were directing an artist to capture it?

This latest win from Dove feels as much to me like a public service announcement as it does an ad for a brand.

Well done.