To truly understand the trends that occur at retail, it is always a good idea to understand what is going on with the ultimate customer: the shopper. Everything trickles down from there, not the other way around. Recently, Progressive Grocer reported on Valassis and its RedPlum Purse String Study. The report finds an increasingly frugal consumer who has become much more determined and proficient at saving money.
The story and study show that 62 percent of consumers spend two hours per week to find savings of $30. Eighteen percent only spent about an hour to find the same savings. The take away is that deal seeking is now second nature to consumers and that they are getting better at it in terms of time and money saved.
They are also becoming more social about their activities. Eighty-three percent share coupons and deals with friends in person and on social media. This sharing behavior pays off. Those who share deals save $31 more per week than those who say they do not.
These shoppers cross between traditional and digital sources to find their deals. Sixty-one percent, up 10 percent from 2011, reported planning their trip mission based on circulars and coupons. Consumers use their smartphones to access coupons, download promotional apps or send text messages to receive a savings reward.
Based on the amount of consumers who say they seek deals and based on the behavior that they exhibit, it is an understatement to say that in-store execution of promotions and reduction of out-of-stocks is vital. Savvy consumers will move on to the competing product quickly if they do not find a product on the shelf. They will use their phone to find another offer costing the manufacturer and retailer brand and market share. They will share this disappointment with family friends and total strangers who will also move on to the next product, regardless of what they find in their outlet.
It is a safe bet that CPG manufacturers and retailers are going to want to take steps to greet these forever frugal deal seekers with in-store and shelf conditions that match the price promotions.
The Hub Magazine, a publication of TPN, recently published a story about how the word “smart” has become the preferred position of many goods and services in the marketplace. The article says that this movement has produced equally smart consumers who use technology to gain expanded knowledge to tell manufacturers and retailers exactly what they want and what they will pay. The main point of the story is that retailers need to be just as intelligent as their shoppers. There are several examples of retailers who seem to be hitting that lofty mark.
We can take the argument one step further. It requires equally smart at-retail merchandising and marketing service companies to help retailers and suppliers to live up to the rising standards of the go-to-market system. One way to get smart is to attend The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) that will be held April 14 – 17, 2012 at Saddlebrook Resort near Tampa. But this is not just one-way communication. Your voice, ideas, input, point-of-view, experiences and opinions are crucial to the vitality of the conference and the enhanced position of the Association.
Smart service companies can connect the dots between smart products, smart retailers and smart consumers. It is obvious that heightened requirements and expectations make in-store execution and speed-to-market that much more important. The margin for error is shrinking and the standards for delivering the desired customer experience are rising.
The members of NARMS are at a unique time in our history. As we re-imagine and rethink what it means to be a member of NARMS, the bar is being raised by smart consumers on the trading partners that we serve. It is a challenging time, but it is also an exciting opportunity to explore the possibilities.
Attending RMMC can be your first step to enlightenment. If you have not already registered, the only thing missing is you! The agenda and conference registration, as well as sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities for the 2012 RMMC are available now at the Conference Center on www.narms.com. You can also carry the Mobile Conference Center on your smart phone by scanning the QR code. #RMMC561
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, Booz & Co. and Shopper Sciences recently released research that says companies using shopper marketing programs are seeing increased sales and better returns for their marketing dollars. According to this story in Supermarket News, the growth in shopper marketing puts a focus on real solutions for shoppers and creates value beyond price promotion.
NARMS own Top Shelf blog this week discussed the decrease in impulse purchasing and the increase in single mission shopping. GMA Senior Director Brian Lynch says shopper marketing uses customer insight and a collaborative approach to win the trip before the shopper gets to the store and increase purchases once they have arrived.
The study shares four components that are common among best-in-class shopper solutions. The first is the ability to develop and integrate consumer and shopper insights. The second is to understand the needs of retailers. The third is to work with external partners to deploy shopper solutions across the path to purchase. The fourth is to build a shopper marketing program that can both execute and measure the results of shopper solution initiatives.
The members of NARMS provide the kinds of at-retail merchandising and marketing solutions that can power the shopper marketing engine. On the front end, they can provide shelf data through audit and mystery shopping services that will provide an intimate portrait of your consumer and how they interact with and experience the retailer. In the middle, they can expertly and quickly deploy tactics that speak directly to the needs of the consumer. A few examples would be building displays, realigning product adjacencies or executing in-store product sampling and demos. And finally, many members employ cutting edge hand-held technology and sophisticated data handling capabilities and systems that help manufacturers and retailers understand the consumer and the retail environment.
On April 12th, the members of NARMS will learn more about the value of shopper insights in at-retail merchandising and marketing processes when Al McClain of RetailWire and Nadine Hernandez of DemandTec, Inc. present - Shopper Insights: Actionable or Academic? The presentation will be the second MSO Division Workshop to take place at the 16th Annual NARMS Spring Conference and Exposition held this year at the Portola Plaza Hotel on Monterey Bay in Monterey, California.
The breakout session will showcase original quantitative research conducted by DemandTec in conjunction with RetailWire. MSO members and all conference attendees can hear key findings of the research and learn how shopper insights are important for both actionable insights and customer alignment in retail merchandising and marketing processes. The survey polled nearly 600 RetailWire community respondents in September of 2010, spanning across both retailers and manufacturers, from executive management to category managers.
The presentation also will highlight industry perspective from McClain, CEO of RetailWire, and Hernandez, Global Marketing Director of Shopper Insights at DemandTec, about the value of shopper insights and how these insights can be applied within merchandising, marketing, pricing, trade, product development, and other retail disciplines. Shopper-centric planning is becoming the norm for retailers and their trading partners. As a result, manufacturers and retailers must integrate shopper analytics at the point of decision into their merchandising, marketing, and trade planning processes.
The NARMS annual showcase event is right around the corner. If you have not already done so, visit the Conference Center at www.narms.com to view the value-packed agenda, register for conference and make your hotel arrangements. #NARMSCON482
It has been awhile since we visited the pages of Willard Bishop’s Competitive Edge. In the September edition, Craig Rosenbloom writes about the proliferation of Shopper Marketing Practices and how shopper data is evolving as a force in the 21st century. Having this opportunity to intimately know the consumer is certainly a great tool for tailoring on-line and at-retail consumer promotion, but as Rosenbloom asks, “Why are we only using shopper data for such limited applications?”
As the eyes and ears, as well as the arms and legs, of CPG manufacturers and retailers around the country, NARMS members are uniquely positioned to play a vital role in both the gathering of shopper data and the execution of any resulting at-retail plans. Because of this, it’s important to know in which direction that these trading partners might be headed with the application of information.
Although Rosenbloom offers three additional ways that marketers can use shopper data beyond target marketing, there is one that jumps off the page in the eyes of at-retail merchandising and marketing companies. That is the application toward assortment and space. With the perimeter of the store growing with necessary offerings to service the customer, that space has to come from somewhere. In most cases, it means that the center of the store is shrinking. Having less space makes each facing and end cap that much more valuable to our customer. Competitive Edge says that trading partners would be wise to use shopper data to optimize assortment offered in the dwindling space.
The article also introduces a term called, “affinity score.” An affinity score helps you decide what additional items a shopper is likely to buy with the purchase of a given item. This all leads to the creation of unique product placement. He uses the example of a, “breakfast center,” where milk, eggs, bacon and cereal are all available in the same place.
Knowledge is power. Shopper marketing data is power for trading partners and knowing the application of the data is power for our group of service companies. A deep understanding of what is driving our customers is invaluable in the evolution our service offering into a valuable go-to-market partnerships.
It is no surprise that low prices and promotions have become important to consumers as they look to stretch their shopping dollars. And even though economists are now saying that the recession is over, most retail experts believe that consumer buying habits have been changed forever. What is surprising is the extent that promotion plays in typical supermarket sales.
A study by The Nielsen Company has shed some light on the direct effect of sales promotion. The study says that almost 48 percent of grocery purchases are sold on promotion. That’s up two percentage point from last year. And it’s not just grocery stores. The study says that over 40 percent of Drug store sales are linked to promotions, displays and features.
So what drives the success of these promotions? Nielsen says it is a matter of setting goals for each promotion and then measuring the results to determine optimal promotion effectiveness. Finding the right mix of product, price and display support are the keys to success.
For the members of NARMS, these results are welcome news. Our membership is made up of at-retail merchandising and marketing support companies who are out in retail aisles everyday making sure product is on the shelf, promotional end-caps are built and point-of-purchase material is in place. The best planned in-store promotions will not work without flawless execution at the shelf. Additionally, our companies can monitor and measure the results of at-retail activities by using constant presence and advanced data collection and reporting capabilities to give their clients a portal into each retail location.
The importance of at-retail marketing and promotion is at an all time high. Now is the time for CPG manufacturers and retailers to partner with NARMS members as part of an integrated promotional solution.