Cartology’s General Manager Samantha Osborne tells how the platform is set to disrupt the business-to-consumer market.
Countdown’s new stand-alone media business Cartology is a response to the changing retail and media landscape that Countdown and its supplier partners are trying to navigate. With insights from 150 million transactions per year and the ability to reach three million customers a week through personally relevant messages, it’s helping brands create real customer impact.
So how did Cartology come about?
Customers have more information through more channels and more ways to act on it than ever before, and they’re in control. Time spent with mobile has now surpassed time spent with TV and as a result, shopping behaviours are changing as customers are more and more digitally enabled. All of this optionality is great for consumers, but it means that their available time is finite. For a brand, the ability to get a customer’s attention and create a moment that matters is becoming harder, yet what we also know is that customers are expecting brands to connect with them on a deeper and more personalised level than ever before.
It’s no longer TV, print and newspapers but social media, tech platforms and digitally driven retail businesses that get the majority of the media spend, and this change poses a challenge for marketers seeking to balance brand building with performance marketing. Business context and models are also changing and we’re seeing new ones emerge to better meet customers’ needs and demands.
As a highly penetrated e-commerce business that continues to experience rapid growth in customers engaging with us in a digital environment, Cartology knows the importance of having a strong omni-channel experience. The fifth P, as they now call it, ‘proximity’, is not based on drive time but merely the ability to open your phone, click and search. Providing incredibly content-rich, seamless and personalised experiences in the digital world is more important than ever before. The ROBIS metric (research online, buy in store) is crucial, with more than 50 percent of consumers starting their journey in a digital channel – and we know that as many as one in five customers will go online while they’re in store. How a brand connects and creates relevance in that moment is critical.
What makes Cartology special?
Cartology is uniquely placed to meet the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities of the changing landscape. With more than three million customers visiting our stores each week and 37.9 percent growth in e-commerce sales, we have the ability to reach Countdown customers with personally relevant messages via our unique in-store, digital and social media channels.
With our insights, we can further support a better shopping experience for our customers across their retail journey at Countdown. These aren’t customers who happen to be walking past – these are engaged people searching, walking, browsing aisles or picking a delivery window, all with the intention to actually purchase.
Simply put, we’re able to give clarity across audience, context and performance. Our data-led marketing solutions help brands achieve real customer impact in the moments that matter most. For brands looking to grow their customer base, our direct relationship with Countdown customers helps brands achieve exactly that. Whether you’re looking to drive awareness, consideration or purchase, our multi-channel media solutions enable brands to reach customers at every step along the path to purchase, providing opportunities to influence their purchase decision.
How do you get a brand’s message to the right person at the right time?
Every campaign focuses on our three core principles: customer personalisation, data-led connections and continuous results. We engage with our supplier partners to clearly define their objectives, and once we understand them, we match them with the right customers. Using data, we’re then able to select the best channels, critically close the loop to measure campaign results well beyond traditional media metrics, and apply the learnings to improve future campaigns.
How does using data help you connect brands to customers?
Countdown has a vast customer audience, great comms platforms and incredible data. Through Quantium, we’ve been able to combine category-level sales and customer data with data for our channels. We then develop planning recommendations to ensure we’re making the right channel choices for every campaign.
Understanding the data has allowed us to look at the six typical tasks we see, including NPD [new product development]and penetration, and develop six complementary strategy-led solutions, such as Launch or Acquire. Having these insights, we can then apply them across our four product sets, which includes digital and in-store platforms, in such a way that we can deliver data-led connections across the full path to purchase by building a profile of every asset, both online and in store. As a result, we’re able to put customer data behind every single comms channel and start to link the channels to specific marketing tasks.
How do you help brands build relationships with consumers?
With more than one million data points from 1.9 million Onecard members, we get what customers want and need. This has seen us build direct and trusted one-to-one relationships with them, and we’re on a mission to make our customers brands’ customers too.
As one of the most trusted brands in New Zealand, customers look to Countdown for information and inspiration. Our media platforms provide brands with greater access and opportunities to engage and impact customers, whether they’re browsing, searching or seeking inspiration.
What feedback have you received?
The initial feedback from supplier partners has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve been told how excited people are to be able to create that personal shopper interaction and leverage our transaction data to create better shopping experiences. More importantly, the level of campaign reporting we offer is market-leading, as it helps suppliers clearly understand the ROI delivered via our platforms that enables them to ensure they’re spending their marketing budgets in the best possible way. We’ve also launched a few new media items and have more to come later in the year, and suppliers have told us how those new elements have helped them get closer to our shoppers and be more targeted with their approach.
How do you think Cartology will impact the B2C market?
Cartology is still in its infancy as brands better understand their customers and how to utilise data across their broader media buying and as we focus on continuous improvement and innovation. We are evolving from a trade marketing resource for suppliers to a fully-fledged digitally led media business. Our well-established, multi-platform proposition that directly reaches customers using rich data and insights, gives us the ability to work with brands outside our ecosystem to inform their media buying strategies by helping them understand the non-linear customer journey and ultimately drive sales in Countdown. With third-party cookie deprecation fast approaching, brands and advertisers need bold new solutions to ensure their campaigns continue to reach the right audiences without interruption. Providing such insights in a privacy-minded manner is at the core of Cartology’s mission. This is just a glimpse into what lies ahead.
For more information, visit cartology.co.nz