Cel­lu­lar Lev­els

Dig­i­tal tools of­fer newer clues into shop­per be­hav­iour. Here’s a look.

Point of Purchase - - INTERNATIONAL -

Shop­pers have long put ef­fort into re­search­ing high-in­volve­ment and ex­pen­sive pur­chases like cars and elec­tron­ics be­fore head­ing to the store. Sud­denly, be­cause of tech­nol­ogy, it is now also worth the “ef­fort” to re­search tooth­paste, canned to­ma­toes and laun­dry de­ter­gent. Ac­cord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal, more than one-fifth of shop­pers re­search food and bev­er­ages on­line, nearly one-third re­search pet prod­ucts and 39 per­cent re­search baby prod­ucts. Al­most two-thirds (62%) say they search for deals on­line be­fore at least half of their shop­ping trips. Ryan Part­ner­ship’s multi-year study of dig­i­tal shop­ping con­firms the wide­spread — and still grow­ing — use of dig­i­tal tools to gather in­for­ma­tion, se­lect re­tail­ers and make brand de­ci­sions well be­fore the shop­per ever sees a prod­uct on the shelf. In fact, this past month, 58 per­cent of the 5,000 shop­pers in the sur­vey said they are more likely than a year ago to “typ­i­cally” de­cide what they want be­fore vis­it­ing a store. To do this, their us­age of all kinds of dig­i­tal shop­ping tools is grow­ing. The in­creased avail­abil­ity of in­for­ma­tion on mo­bile de­vices has been a strong driver in the growth of dig­i­tal tool adoption for shop­ping — the tools are sim­ply more use­ful when they are avail­able when­ever and wher­ever peo­ple need them. Shop­pers in our study over­whelm­ingly re­ported that they use these tools be­fore they get to the store shelf. In many cases this pre­store ac­tiv­ity is hav­ing an im­pact on the de­ci­sions they make about where they shop, not just what they buy. Shop­pers also re­port us­ing mo­bile dig­i­tal tools more and more while at the store as an ad­junct to the in­for­ma­tion they find in the store. These tools are hav­ing a real im­pact on peo­ple’s in-store shop­ping be­hav­ior, as well: Re­spon­dents re­port that they make un­planned pur­chases and buy new prod­ucts and brands as a re­sult of the in­for­ma­tion dig­i­tal mo­bile tools pro­vide for them. What does all this mean for shop­perin­sights pro­fes­sion­als? When peo­ple use these shop­ping tools, they gen­er­ate a trail of data that is em­ployed rou­tinely by web-an­a­lyt­ics teams to op­ti­mize brands’ and re­tail­ers’ web­sites and other dig­i­tal as­sets. How­ever, it can also be used for other means — in par­tic­u­lar, un­der­stand­ing in broader terms how peo­ple shop for var­i­ous cat­e­gories and brands, how they shop in dif­fer­ent re­tail chan­nels and ban­ners, and some of the things that are mo­ti­vat­ing those be­hav­iours

The in­creased avail­abil­ity of in­for­ma­tion on mo­bile de­vices has been a strong driver in the growth of dig­i­tal tool adoption for shop­ping — the tools are sim­ply more use­ful when they are avail­able when­ever and wher­ever peo­ple need them. Shop­pers in our study over­whelm­ingly re­ported that they use these tools be­fore they get to the store shelf. In many cases this pre­store ac­tiv­ity is hav­ing an im­pact on the de­ci­sions they make about where they shop, not just what they buy.

There has been heated de­bate in our field in re­cent years about the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of us­ing “so­cial mar­ket re­search” in place of tra­di­tional quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive shop­per re­search tech­niques. In fact, the de­bate is some­thing of a red her­ring. It would be fool­ish to ig­nore this new source of data that, when ap­proached knowl­edge­ably and re­spon­si­bly, can pro­vide in­sights we may not be able to gather any other way. It is also pos­si­ble to in­cor­po­rate this in­for­ma­tion into our in­sight-gen­er­a­tion process with­out aban­don­ing more di­rect types of shop­per re­search. There has been heated de­bate in our field in re­cent years about the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of us­ing “so­cial mar­ket re­search” in place of tra­di­tional quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive shop­per re­search tech­niques. In fact, the de­bate is some­thing of a red her­ring. It would be fool­ish to ig­nore this new source of data that, when ap­proached knowl­edge­ably and re­spon­si­bly, can pro­vide in­sights we may not be able to gather any other way. It is also pos­si­ble to in­cor­po­rate this in­for­ma­tion into our in­sight-gen­er­a­tion process with­out aban­don­ing more di­rect types of shop­per re­search. The pos­i­tives of us­ing so­cial re­search plat­forms for shop­per in­sights are that they are quite easy to ac­cess, rea­son­ably priced, and fast (i.e., we can get in­for­ma­tion in real time) com­pared to many tra­di­tional re­search tools. They also have the ad­van­tage that they pro­vide in­for­ma­tion that is not bi­ased by shop­pers’ abil­ity or will­ing­ness to re­call or re­count their ac­tiv­i­ties — and this is a ma­jor pos­i­tive. The key neg­a­tive is that it can in­volve quite a bit of per­sis­tence, cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion to mine so­cial data to glean broader in­sights about the over­all shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence. As a re­sult, there is the pos­si­bil­ity of mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion, and the dol­lar sav­ings can be off­set to vary­ing de­grees by the time in­vest­ment. We find that us­ing so­cial re­search tech­niques to be­gin our in­ves­ti­ga­tion of shop­per be­hav­iors and mo­ti­va­tions is a great way to max­i­mize the pos­i­tive and min­i­mize the neg­a­tive. The abil­ity to doc­u­ment be­hav­ior that shop­pers may not have been able or will­ing to tell us is a strong rea­son to take a look at what can be learned from so­cial re­search plat­forms. Af­ter the ini­tial ex­plo­ration, we of­ten have ques­tions or hy­pothe­ses about

shop­pers that we would not have gen­er­ated on our own. That is the time to turn to some of the more tra­di­tional ap­proaches and ex­plore these is­sues fur­ther. In gen­eral, the in­sights we can gather from so­cial re­search plat­forms are very be­hav­ioral. Any in­sights we gen­er­ate about shop­per mo­ti­va­tions — or the why be­hind the what — prob­a­bly need to be con­firmed with ad­di­tional di­rect shop­per re­search (sur­veys, in­ter­cepts, in-store mon­i­tor­ing, etc.).

Learn­ing from Dig­i­tal/So­cial Tools

So­cial lis­ten­ing and web an­a­lyt­ics tools can help shed at least some light on a va­ri­ety of mar­ket­ing is­sues — from po­si­tion­ing to new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment to ef­fec­tive mer­chan­dis­ing and pric­ing. Nu­mer­ous ex­am­ples are de­scribed in the lit­er­a­ture that re­late to top­ics dear to most shop­per mar­keters’ hearts, so I’ve cho­sen a cou­ple to pro­vide some thought-starters. One ex­am­ple uses search-be­hav­ior an­a­lyt­ics and an­other uses so­cial lis­ten­ing. What is im­por­tant to peo­ple shop­ping for my cat­e­gory? Search be­hav­ior tools (such as Google In­sights for Search) can be used to un­der­stand how peo­ple think about the cat­e­gory as a whole and how they start their shop­ping process for it. We can ap­ply that in­for­ma­tion to make sure we are de­liv­er­ing on those fac­tors in the store. For in­stance, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of search ac­tiv­ity in hair care re­veals that peo­ple spend a lot of time search­ing for ways to recre­ate celebrity hair­styles. Clearly, that has im­pli­ca­tions for where a hair­care brand would want to place in­ter­net ad­ver­tis­ing and what kinds of videos it might post on YouTube or its own web­site. How­ever, it also pro­vides a great start­ing point for de­vel­op­ing in-store ac­tiv­ity and mer­chan­dis­ing con­cepts. These could in­clude hair styling tips/ book­lets in-store (fea­tur­ing celebri­ties and their sig­na­ture looks) celebri­ties on pack­ag­ing and in-store sig­nage, and changes in ad­ja­cen­cies based on tools and prod­ucts re­quired to achieve cer­tain styles. Where are peo­ple shop­ping for my cat­e­gory and how is that chang­ing? In the book, Lis­ten First!, Stephen Rap­pa­port shares a case study in­volv­ing Kraft’s so­cial-lis­ten­ing tools. One key in­sight Kraft (in con­junc­tion with its so­cial­lis­ten­ing part­ner Cym­fony) dis­cov­ered was that “shop­pers ex­pe­ri­enced a resur­gent in­ter­est in home gar­dens and sea­sonal eat­ing as a way to save money … eat more health­fully … and sup­port lo­cal farm­ers’ mar­kets.” Us­ing that in­for­ma­tion to in­fer that shop­pers were likely mov­ing some of their gro­cery store dol­lars to farm­ers’ mar­kets, Kraft re­sponded by “part­ner­ing with re­tail­ers to cre­ate mer­chan­dis­ing dis­plays that bor­row themes from farm­ers’ mar­kets and cre­ate community sup­ported agri­cul­ture-like boxes of com­ple­men­tary items in stores,” thereby help­ing their cus­tomers keep more of those transactions in the store. I’m sure you have your own set of ques­tions about shop­ping be­hav­ior and mo­ti­va­tions in your cat­e­gory and I chal­lenge you to think about how you could an­swer them by tap­ping into the in­for­ma­tion avail­able as a re­sult of this new way of shop­ping. All of this in­for­ma­tion, gath­ered on­line, can help point us in the di­rec­tion of the right mes­sages to de­liver to shop­pers at the right point in time through the right me­dia chan­nels — in­clud­ing inside the store. In most or­ga­ni­za­tions — whether man­u­fac­tur­ers, re­tail­ers or agen­cies — the re­la­tion­ship with so­cial me­dia is not part of the in­sights or mar­ket re­search func­tion. In­stead, the re­spon­si­bil­ity for tap­ping into the mea­sure­ment tools gen­er­ally lies with the teams that de­velop dig­i­tal and so­cial me­dia strate­gies and plans. They use the data to test au­di­ence re­ac­tion to var­i­ous on­line mes­sages and ac­tiv­i­ties. Which ban­ner ad is driv­ing more peo­ple to the web­site? Which va­ca­tion spot photo on our site is get­ting more peo­ple to book a flight? Which recipes are get­ting peo­ple to nav­i­gate around the site and down­load coupons for our brand? You want to use the same data, but for dif­fer­ent pur­poses. This is the ex­cuse you’ve been look­ing for to get out of your of­fice and make new friends with the web an­a­lyt­ics or cus­tomer-in­tel­li­gence folks. Have lunch with them and talk about the kinds of things you’d like to learn about your shop­pers. Chances are they’ll be ex­cited to think about their tools in a slightly dif­fer­ent way and to help you get started ac­cess­ing the right data.

49 In ad­di­tion, it’s crit­i­cal to have this team work with you so that any dig­i­tal ac­tiv­ity you launch is set up to col­lect data that will help you gather the shop­per in­sights you need. Fol­low up by talk­ing with which­ever so­cial-lis­ten­ing plat­form sup­pli­ers your or­ga­ni­za­tion uses. Chances are these plat­forms are al­ready in use some­where in the or­ga­ni­za­tion. So, speak with those ex­perts if you have con­cerns about the value and rel­e­vance of this kind of in­for­ma­tion and chal­lenge them to look at their data from your per­spec­tive. If we truly want to be the voice of the shop­per within our or­ga­ni­za­tions, it’s im­por­tant to lis­ten to that voice when­ever and wher­ever we rea­son­ably can. As trained pro­fes­sion­als, it is also up to us to bring that train­ing to bear on these new tech­niques to im­prove the qual­ity of data they pro­vide and to in­ter­pret them re­spon­si­bly. Af­ter that, it’s up to you where your imag­i­na­tion and in­tel­lect take you Add this in the end: KIM FIN­NERTY is svp of re­search and in­sights at Ryan Part­ner­ship, where she helps brands and re­tail­ers across a wide range of cat­e­gories use re­search tools to gain a deeper un­der­stand­ing of their con­sumers and shop­pers. Email: kfinnerty-@-dl­ryan­com­pa­nies.com. Source: http:// hub­magazine.com/ html/2012/ hub_ 48/may_ jun/237230548/ryan_ in­sights/in­dex. html

There has been heated de­bate in our field in re­cent years about the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of us­ing “so­cial mar­ket re­search” in place of tra­di­tional quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive shop­per re­search tech­niques. In fact, the de­bate is some­thing of a red her­ring. It would be fool­ish to ig­nore this new source of data that, when ap­proached knowl­edge­ably and re­spon­si­bly, can pro­vide in­sights we may not be able to gather any other way.

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