Challenges at retail continue to mount as shoppers grapple with rising food and gas prices. Today’s shopper looks very different than yesterday’s shopper. To find out how marketers are handling the changes, we checked in with a few top retail experts.
PROMO: What do you see as the biggest change (challenge) this year in marketing at retail?
Todd Engels, general manager, Marketing Drive
Shoppers are staying home. The combination of $4 or more for a gallon of gas and the rise of “e-tailing” are negatively impacting store trips. For those looking to get on the leading edge of this trend, take a close look at how Amazon is shifting the purchase of CPG brands that have traditionally been retail trip drivers. According to Nielsen, 9% of US households are currently buying CPG brands online (Amazon is the clear leader) and 1,000 new households join Amazon’s “Subscribe and Save” everyday. For brick and mortar retailers, those shoppers and their trips are essentially being taken out of the market.
So what’s a retailer to do? First, they need to look at their own e-commerce platform and strategy to make sure they’re effectively meeting the needs of their shoppers. Second, re-examine their in-store value proposition to make sure they’re differentiating the shopping experience along key shoppability measures such as convenience, enjoyment and relevance.
Manufacturers need to have an “e-tailing” channel strategy (assortment, pricing and promotion) to address this growing trend and work with their retailer partners to develop trip driving programs such as exclusive offers, in-store sampling, loyalty rewards, etc.
Tina Manikas, global retail and promotions officer, Draftfcb
The big challenge is how best to address the changing shopping eco-system to stay relevant and competitive. Shopping beyond the store, in the store, in the aisles is different – mobile and digital playing a big part of it. It’s affecting shopper resources, destinations, trip types and behaviors; the insights we as marketers have assumed in the past; and the way we integrate communications. It is driven by the changing nature of information as it continues to become portable, personal, social, real-time and, in many cases, free.
A few ways to address this changing behavior are:
1.Get new behavioral insights on how your target is making decisions today versus yesterday – see the ecosystem
2. Move more emphasis pre-store.
3. Weave mobile digital solution into the main retail plan to help shoppers
4. Build in ideas that spread/create a dialogue as opinion and social conversation influences engagement and buying
Our point of view here is that the shopper journey is not black and white anymore and if you wait until they get to the shelf, they will never get to the shelf.
Barb Stabno, president/owner, BARD Advertising, Inc.
The biggest change/challenge I see for the remainder of 2011 in marketing at retail is the development of creating synergy between retailers and manufacturers. The goal is to capture the consumer in many walks of life – in-home and in-market as well as in-retail. Retail offers the point of purchase, but manufacturers and retailers need to be sure to come together to engage the consumer both in-home and in-market. The landscape of driving consumers to the path of purchase has changed significantly in the past two years, and some traditional methods are just not cutting it anymore. Dollars needs to be realigned to engage and connect with the customers so when they enter the retailer, the consumer already has it noted to buy your brand. By developing the proper synergies between retailer and manufacturer, products will be purchased and ROI will be notable.
Matt Egan, executive director, branding & design, G2 USA
There’s no question that the most exciting shift in retail marketing is the integration of mobile, social and place-based media into the traditional brick and mortar experience. At a base level, this challenges all brand owners to deliver real-time, shopper-relevant messaging to mobile handsets. At a more sophisticated level, it presents a whole host of opportunities to proactively influence and manage decision making in-store. It’s such an exciting area because new shopper tools and related behaviors are emerging before our eyes. In the future, I envision that we’ll all be connected via ‘shopper sensor networks’ that pervade individual retail outlets. It’s clear that we’re just getting started.