Archive for the ‘Shopper Marketing’ Category

The ability to deliver savings in the store via mobile is a game changer. It collapses the purchase funnel for new users. It combats showrooming. And it can drive retailer loyalty.

But despite the fact that forty million Americans will use mobile coupons in 2013 (eMarketer), redemption still remains an issue at the store level. Those clunky red line scanners at most cash registers today just aren’t equipped (yet) to accept mobile saving. If airlines can figure it out, why can’t fast moving consumer goods retailers? Cmon! mobile_coupon

In January, the Mobile Marketing Association unveiled its “Current State & Promise of Mobile Couponing” which reviews the advantages and challenges of savings by smartphone. You can download their POV here to find some helpful case studies, but you’ll also be disappointed to learn that even the MMA hasn’t landed on a perfect solution for CPG brands. Print FSIs are still king, accounting for 88% of the distribution universe and leads all coupon channel redemption at 43%.

Coupon giants like Coupons.com require people to download their Grocery IQ app. A nice attempt, but penetration is low (surprising since so many have downloaded their desktop print driver for digital coupons).

In short, we’re not there yet.

In our view, CPG brands should work at the retailer level to promote and distribute mobile coupons. Restaurant and retail brands have a little more control and can promote through branded apps, show-and-save, or through email.


Retailers have always observed people in their stores to gain insight into how to create a better shopping experience. Where does the customer go upon entry? Can she find the right aisle?  Does she read product information or does she grab-and-go? These insights were critical to “winning the customer at shelf” – for both retailers and brands alike.

But while these insights are still relevant today, they don’t provide nearly enough value - or context - to truly bond with today’s socially-connected, location-aware shopper.

Whether it’s for electronics or egg whites, power has completely shifted to the consumer.

Industry wonks have playfully labeled this trend MoSoLoCo. That is, the effects of mobile devices, social media, and location-awareness on all forms ofcommerce. It’s driven by three things:

  • Smarter, faster technology (mobile devices)
  • Access to information and trustworthy opinions about anything (social media)
  • More relevant contexts (location-aware)

Commerce is mobile (mCommerce)

The ability to initiate or complete transactions via mobile is still in its infancy, but usage is already widespread. Oracle reports that 48 percent of consumers research and browse products and services from their handheld. And comScore says 38 percent have used their smartphone to make a purchase at least once.

When consumers are able to learn about, find, compare, buy, and review products and services without breaking a sweat-and when they’re able to perform these actions from any location, at any time, that creates challenges for brands and retailers.

For example, The New York Times recently characterized Best Buy as a “showroom” for Amazon.  And Target, incensed by mobile-social research in their stores, sent a stern message to suppliers:

“What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display your brands.”

Adding fuel to the fire is eBay, who created TV ads that embrace showrooming as a way to drive their own business:


Imagine having Bob Dylan as your brand’s spokesman.  For cents on the dollar.

Display advertising on the mobile web–or in-app mobile advertising–provides some of the richest opportunities for marketers to connect with consumers.

Here’s a mobile ad that converted me recently. And here’s why it worked:

photo1. Personalized to me based on a recent mobile search

2. Location-aware with a map to help me connect when I’m on-the-go

3. Strong call to action with the option to call (without expanding the ad)

4. Creative content connection thru Pandora internet radio (to which I’m addicted)

5. User review star rating authenticates quality via UGC/third party

This ad caught my attention initially because I was intrigued by a Dylan song I hadn’t heard before, on a station that was curated by a friend (bonus social connection~!).

This plumbing supply store gets two thumbs up for smarter, faster mobile advertising.

download2Each weekend in August, I cross the Chesapeake from Washington, D.C. to Delaware’s beaches.  And on the Sunday return, usually hit up a farm stand to gather produce for Sunday dinner.

It’s rural. Really rural.  No phone service. Just cornfields and cicadas.

This past Sunday, I stopped at Mason Farms to collect loot for this delightful  salsa verde  recipe.

Boy did they have their act together. Upon checkout, the farmer whipped out an iPad2  and ran my card to complete the sale. I used my finger to authorize the transaction with a signature.

Seamless. It felt like an Apple store. Only the product was tomatoes and snap peas instead of tablets and smartphones.

The lesson here? Even if  you’re selling to (or from) C&D counties–there’s still an opportunity to surprise and delight your consumer through technology.

Is your retail business keeping up with rural Delaware?

I keep thinking about the “ZMOT” (zero moment of truth) and I just can’t wrap my head around it. I’m in advertising right, so I should get this and appreciate the logic behind it - but the whole thing isn’t quite hanging for me. The shopper, consumer and professional me’s are wrestling with this. The professional wants to say “this is the moment I need to have an impact” and the shopper/consumer is saying “I decide when that is - but you better be ready.” shopper-stat-image

The path to purchase is  talked about like it’s the same for everyone or that it’s something that only certain people can read the tea leaves on.  I don’t buy it. From the first time I heard the “path to purchase” I didn’t think “Shopper Marketing” I thought “marketing.” Sure there are many more smart people than me with way more experience handling  in-store planograms, designing packaging and at-shelf signage, end aisle displays and in-store promotions - not to mention the art of the retail channel sell-in (this should not be understated) - I totally get all that - but that’s one part of the path -and not even the final destination that it used to be.

There have always been influences before you go into the store. And of course there are influences in the store - but this to me is where things have really converged. The “shopper me” now has access to information to inform my decision while in the store and at the shelf. I don’t necessarily have a zero or first moment of truth that can be defined consistently.

Isn’t the only real (or important) truth when I buy what I buy? There are many things that factor into that and there isn’t necessarily one that comes first (or before first) every time. To me it comes back to understanding your targets (all of them), the insight, the idea as it relates to your brand, what you are trying to achieve and how you measure how well you are doing. And that sounds strangely similar to a definition of marketing.