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Telling and selling are merging

Retail Marketing and Sales

by Reg Lascaris

Shopper marketers got it wrong when they claimed 70% of purchase decisions were made in store. It's actually 76%, says new US research by Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI). Half a decade ago when POPAI first quoted the 70% number it created a furore.

There may be less fuss this time around. Telling and selling have been getting closer for some time and shopper-centric communication has taken off.

Our shopper marketing specialists at Integer constantly engage in market education on the store's potential as a new marketing medium and increasingly find they are talking to the converted.

Retailers and brands focus on what works - and shopper marketing clearly does, as indicated by the latest POPAI study. Its findings show that shoppers invest less time on shopping trips, but spend more money per trip.

Our Integer colleagues say this sharpens the challenge. You may not have much time, but there's a bigger reward for getting it right - a major reason for growing calls on Integer expertise. The store is a medium and (as with all media) clutter is a problem.

The shopper confronts thousands of SKUs (stock-keeping units to retailers; products to you and me). Time-pressed shoppers therefore need help with store navigation. Not all stores respond. POPAI says retailers don't fully maximise "the multitude of opportunities to enhance the in-store experience".

The creative challenge, says POPAI, is to turn the subconscious shopper into the conscious buyer. Jason Frichol, MD of Integer South Africa, tells me the big creative leap springs from the realisation that speaking to the consumer and speaking to the shopper are two different things.

You have to do more than capture attention; you also have to capture the shopper's purse. One of North America's leading practitioners in the field summarised the creative brief quite succinctly. They didn't say it was as easy as 1, 2, 3, but it does involve the 'rule of 3, 4, 5'.

The message has to be absorbed and understood in less than three seconds, must be visible from four paces away and you have to say it in less than five words.

That's a challenge, but the reward for success is substantial. POPAI says 57% of shoppers still spend more than they planned and those who overspend on impulse items do so by more than 200% of what they expected to spend on impulse buys.

Other US research says experience at consumer goods companies indicates effective shopper marketing can grow a brand's revenue 25% faster than the overall category.

No wonder telling and selling are merging ... "Shopping doesn't just happen within the aisles of a store, nor does it only happen online. It's a continuum - one that's not always linear or logical, but one that is constant. We call this The Shopper Continuum(r).

Magna Carta
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