Wired To Please

Point of Purchase - - INTERNATIONAL - LAUREN de SI­MONE is svp of strat­egy, in­no­va­tion and growth at Acosta Mar­ket­ing Group. She is an ad­vo­cate for in­sights­driven in­te­grated mar­ket­ing and a proud grand­daugh­ter of mer­chants Rocco and Filom­ena Imundo. Email: ldes­i­mone-@acosta.com.

For thou­sands of years, mar­kets have been at the cen­ter of com­mu­ni­ties. Shop­pers went to mar­ket to buy, see and hear about what was new, and in many ways to dream of some­thing bet­ter. Things have changed. But have they? Read on.


so long ago, small neigh­bor­hood gro­ceries, run by lo­cal “ex­perts” like my grand­fa­ther, pro­vided help, ser­vice, so­cial news (a.k.a. gos­sip) and in­tro­duc­tions to new and bet­ter things. My grand­fa­ther’s store, Roxy’s Mar­ket, was a small gro­cery in the East Bronx: think Sam Drucker from Green Acres.The man knew ev­ery­thing and ev­ery­one, and shop­pers came away from their trips to his store richer in many ways. They left with so much more than a bag of flour; they came away with my grand­mother’s spe­cial one-egg cake recipe that they could now make for their own cel­e­bra­tion. If any­thing went wrong, help was just an old-fash­ioned phone call away! Re­flect­ing on those days got me think­ing: Might dig­i­tal’s fu­ture in pack­aged-goods re­tail re­side in putting peo­ple, and the per­sonal touch, back into the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence? If store em­ploy­ees were to help shop­pers en­joy a more tech­no­log­i­cally in­te­grated ex­pe­ri­ence by ed­u­cat­ing and in­form­ing them on how to use, lever­age and thread to­gether on­line and off­line ex­pe­ri­ences, would mar­kets once again be­come the cen­ter of the “new community”? There’s no deny­ing that dig­i­tal, mo­bile and so­cial have had a seis­mic im­pact on the way we all shop. Some in­dus­tries, such as elec­tron­ics, lux­ury goods, travel/hos­pi­tal­ity, ap­parel and au­to­mo­tive, have felt the di­rect im­pact of dig­i­tal, while oth­ers — such as con­sumer pack­aged-goods— are some­what be­hind the curve. In many ways, things haven’t changed since my grand­fa­ther’s hey­day. In­deed, some­where be­tween the car door and the store door, the mod­ern gro­cery shop­per turns into her mother. She walks in the store, puts away her cell or smart­phone, grabs the same kind of cart her mother used, and, equipped with her pa­per list, walks down many of the same sorts of aisles, herd­ing her 1.8 kids, pick­ing up many of the same brands her mother chose. We know she is on­line as she is plan­ning her trip and be­fore she en­ters the store, but to un­der­stand why pack­aged-goods pales in com­par­i­son to some other in­dus­tries when it comes to her use of mo­bile de­vices, we need look no fur­ther than a few key fac­tors. First, gro­cery shop­ping is tasko­ri­ented; it’s all about get­ting in and out of the store as quickly as pos­si­ble. Shop­pers are there ei­ther for a stockup, fill-in, quick trip or a spe­cial pur­pose. Next, most gro­cery items are rel­a­tively low-cost and the per­ceived value of of­fers or dis­counts is lower, as well. What’s more, the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits hardly merit jug­gling a smart­phone. She’s al­ready jug­gling a cart, kids, the list, deli, bak­ery, her meal-plan and more. Re­mem­ber, while mom may be a tal­ented multi-tasker, she is not that tal­ented! Lastly, with mo­bile-phone re­cep­tion at many stores ei­ther lim­ited or not con­sis­tently avail­able, there’s rel­a­tively lit­tle op­por­tu­nity to work dig­i­tal into this sce­nario.

Serv­ing Al­pha-Shop­pers Most pack­aged-goods con­sumers are “al­pha-shop­pers.” Whether we’re talk­ing about a fe­male or— in­creas­ingly — a male shop­per, by the time they get to the store, they are smart (bol­stered by pre-shop­ping dig­i­tal re­search), di­rected (they know what they want or know what prob­lem they need to solve) and don’t have time to waste. Some re­tail­ers un­der­stand this and have ac­ti­vated nat­u­ral dwell-points, like deli and bak­ery, with dig­i­tal kiosks. In the next few years, when smart­phone us­age and RFID/NFC tech­nol­ogy reach their tip­ping point, more dwell-points will be dig­i­tally ac­ti­vated and to­day’s “clunky” hand­held self-scan­ning tech­nol­ogy will mi­grate to our smart­phones and be our con­stant shop­ping companions. When this hap­pens, dig­i­tal/mo­bile will, in fact, re­de­fine the way we shop, se­lect and pay for gro­ceries. Un­til then, the crit­i­cal in­flec­tion point for dig­i­tal and pack­aged-goods retailing will come at the in­ter­sec­tion of shop­per needs, wants and de­sires. “Needs” come first be­cause they are hard, cold facts — they are non-ne­go­tiable. Sav­ing money and ad­her­ing to a bud­get would fall into the “needs” cat­e­gory.

“Wants” are softer, more sub­jec­tive el­e­ments, like speed, con­ve­nience and a pos­i­tive over­all shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence. “De­sires” are those things that we keep to our­selves, like our se­cret hope that we emerge from our shop­ping trip with some­thing new, bet­ter and in­no­va­tive: some­thing that al­lows us, with our fam­i­lies in tow, to break through meal­time monotony to some­thing mem­o­rable. How­ever, un­til now, pack­aged-goods brands and re­tail­ers have been a bit played-out-of-po­si­tion by the idea of “dig­i­tal.” They have tried to build real-world web­sites in their stores with QR codes, hand-held scan­ners and the like, but have had only lim­ited suc­cess. More im­por­tant, in the process of “chas­ing dig­i­tal,” re­tail­ers have not op­ti­mized the one thing dig­i­tal will never have: per­sonal contact and the abil­ity for a one-on-one re­la­tion­ship to teach, coach and ad­vise cus­tomers, to de­liver a richer shop­ping and brand ex­pe­ri­ence, and to build loy­alty and ad­vo­cacy in the process. My grand­par­ents had two sons, a brother and two sons-in-law serv­ing in the armed forces. They used the front win­dow of his store to pro­mote their ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vice, and in­vited the community to do the same by bring­ing in a pic­ture of their serv­ing fam­ily mem­ber, which they also fea­tured in the win­dow. Each week, in grow­ing num­bers, fam­i­lies would come from miles around to “post” their pic­tures, share news from loved-ones and, of course, buy what they needed for din­ner. When a sol­dier came home, the whole neigh­bor­hood went to Roxy’s Mar­ket to watch my grand­fa­ther take down the sol­dier’s pic­ture and re­turn it to his fam­ily. Now, imag­ine this with the am­pli­fi­ca­tion of the dig­i­tal, mo­bile and so­cial! This is the op­por­tu­nity fac­ing pack­aged-goods re­tail­ers to­day. The bot­tom line for dig­i­tal at pack­aged-goods re­tail is that the most valu­able as­set in any store is its staff. The dig­i­tal win for pack­aged-goods re­tail­ers to­day lies in ac­ti­vat­ing their peo­ple in a com­bi­na­tion of per­sonal sell­ing and dig­i­tal ed­u­ca­tion. By in­te­grat­ing dig­i­tal and per­sonal shop­ping ser­vices, re­tail­ers will deepen their re­la­tion­ships with, knowl­edge of, and value to, their shop­pers. This will drive traf­fic, build bas­kets and garner loy­alty. Re­tail­ers and brands can break the neg­a­tive cy­cle of dis­count­ing tac­tics to cre­ate true value, sus­tain­able de­mand and a bright, con­nected fu­ture Source: http://hub­magazine.com/html/2012/ hub_ 50/sep _ oct/237230950/acosta_ me­dia/ in­dex.html

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