Viva la revolución?
Barbara Bentley, director of brand strategy and client partnerships at Revolution Shopper Marketing, suggests a revolution has begun as retailers and brands move away from the path to purchase and focus on the path to loyalty. There has been a realisation that value is not created through a single transaction but a lifetime of loyalty.
“Technology is allowing us to create strategies that transcend traditional through-the-line mentality,” she says. “We can connect brand and retail through real time promotional offers linked to shopper profiles instantly creating value.”
Retailers are fully aware of the value of in-store marketing and activation, and demand that their suppliers support their brands in in-store. Brand ambassadors, such as those provided by Phenomenon, have to be authentic representatives for the product. Consumers need to feel that they are speaking to someone from the client company, and so the briefing and training process is crucial. The brand ambassadors directly influence the consumer’s purchase choice at the coalface, by persuading them to buy a product or up-selling them to purchase more on the day.
The combination of visual identity, great briefing and training processes, and particular offers that can be made on the day, will regularly result in selling more in four hours than a store would commonly sell in a week.
“We have really seen the shopper marketing revolution build momentum post-GFC,” reports Sonia McConnachie, director at Commando. “The industry has grown out of a need to make marketing dollars work harder to drive sales, with point of purchase being the more direct and easier way to deliver results.”
The shifting mindset hasn’t necessarily always been led by agencies, rather the need of retailers and manufacturers to support each other to keep consumers purchasing during difficult times. There is a desire for a more integrated, in-store approach with a clear return on investment for short-term gains.
Commando sees its role as that of building a relationship with shoppers through engagement campaigns, driving them in-store to purchase, ensuring there are reminders at point of purchase that resonate with what they have seen out-of-store.
“The ideal would be the opportunity to continue that relationship so that they repeat purchase, turning them into loyalists and opinion leaders, advocates of our product brands to encourage word-of-mouth and counter the negative market forces of competitor activity or bad PR,” says McConnachie.
“We know shoppers don’t just make impulse buys at point of purchase. Of course, yes, some products respond well to impulse buy strategies but some products require a longer and better decision-making process, combined with consumers wanting to know more about what’s behind their products. Some of this decision-making is being made well before they enter the store, be that consciously or sub-consciously. It’s our job to give shoppers our product brand’s message as early as possible in that decision making journey through awareness and engagement campaigns.”