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Dipstick: Is shopper marketing the most effective vehicle for brand building?

With shopper marketing becoming the fastest growing sector of advertising and promotions, how do brands today bring a customer to the store?

Neha Saraiya | New Delhi | October 11, 2011

Shopper marketing is becoming the fastest growing sector of advertising and promotions compared with other marketing platforms like print, television and trade promotions, especially with the coming of modern retail into the country. So, how do brands/companies today lure a customer to the store and trigger impulse buying? BestMediaInfo elicits views of some top marketing professionals on shopper marketing.

Anand Halve, Co-founder, chlorophyll brand consultancy

"There are four types of shopping behaviour contexts, conceptually. First, there are stores falling under the 'shop accessibility' group, where people just go to buy things because they are easily accessible, like a hardware store located in a nearby locality.

“At the second level, the consumer has a pre-determined shopping list, but can be 'intrigued' or 'bribed' to buy a new product that was not on his/her list. This can be done through simple devices like a shelf talker, or a special display, or an OOH screen or even by a person standing in the shop and suggesting a particular product for the consumer to buy. This is the area where you have to prompt the consumer to bring about the purchase.

“At the third level, the consumer just goes to a store for browsing. Like a book store or a record shop. Here, the consumer is checking out what is new, and the marketer must excite the prospect about something new to trigger a purchase. This can take the form of 'Bestseller' shelves or 'Recommendation' and 'Review' blurbs.

“In the fourth case, experience is the most important factor. Like the experience in an iStore, where iPhones, iPods, iPads and so on are placed in the store, and the consumer is invited to freely try and experience the product. Often, consumers who seek out such outlets are already 'devotees' of the brand, and see the experience as a form of participation in a semi-religious event. Outlets for brands like Apple, Harley Davidson, Abercrombie and Fitch are examples of this type.

“Thus, when we look at which shopper marketing vehicles are most effective, we must ask: What is the communication objective? Form must follow function. It is not about what tools a company uses, but the purpose of the communication that determines effectiveness."

Jagdeep Kapoor, CEO, Samsika Marketing

“Firstly, the shopping cart can be a great marketing vehicle to get the consumer involved and interested, by having visible side panels advertising brands. If there can be bus side panels and back panels, why not shopping card side and back panels?

Secondly, human packaging helps. Recently at Chroma, the branded Samsung attire by the entire staff of Chroma made a visible impact, leading to visibility. Thirdly, video and TV monitors in store showcasing brands and demos assist impulse buying. The audio visual elements can be customised. Fourthly, the aisles and dispensers are good aids for display and purchase. Finally, presence of the brand and presence of mind of the salesperson can lead to higher sales.

“Shopper marketing and advertising help increase visibility and sales. As I had written in my first book many years ago, Jo dikhta hai, wo bikta hai!”

Harish Bijoor, CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults

“Shopper marketing is emerging as the biggest and most touch-oriented among tactics to ensnare consumer franchise at the point of purchase. It is important to understand that the point of purchase is today not merely a point of purchase. It is the point of direct contact. It is the point of market research, it is the point of touch. It is the point of sight. It is the point of experience. It is the point of advertising. It is the point of marketing. It is the point of branding. In short, it is the point of everything. Therefore, it’s important.

“Shopper marketing techniques today therefore hover from the sublime to the ridiculous. They incorporate just about anything, from the sensorial brand experiences of sight, touch, smell and taste to issues relating to product experience, product development in terms of co-creation, and more.”

Vijay Uppal, Brand Consultant & Director, Upfront Advertising

“It’s like you went to a mobile shop wanting to buy a Nokia smartphone and ended up buying Samsung or vice versa... In today's dynamic environment, shoppers are often seen changing their preconceived option on a brand while making the final purchase. This is true not only for consumables category (e.g., chips, soft drinks, soaps, etc.), where impulse purchases are quite common, but also for the durables category. Of course, this is due to the changed mindset of the young shoppers -- they are willing to experiment and are anxious to make independent decisions in life.

“The frequent occurrence of this trend is also attributed to innovative shopper marketing, especially with the influx of large format retail outlets in India. In the last one decade, shopper marketing has improved considerably in terms of innovation, content and on the spot promotions making buyers experience the products, the presence of friendly, knowledgeable sales personnel and the overall glitz.

“Many companies/brands are spending huge funds on developing new and innovative ways of shopper marketing, e.g., in cosmetics, the sales girls who are trying to woo prospective female buyers act as testimonials by using these products themselves. The quality of dispensers, standees, dropdown banners, OOH advertising elements, innovative merchandising/displays, on the spot announcements for promotional offers, discounts and coupons have really undergone a seachange in the last 3/4 years. The equation now is that many companies are launching their brands through innovative shopper marketing before graduating to mass media. In a nutshell, gone are the days when it was safe to have a campaign on satellite TV channels.”

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Comments (1)
  • Naresh Gupt- 6 years ago

    The industry has not even scratched the surface of shopper marketing. With so much of data available, there are immense possibilities of creating not only engorgement with brand, but also a one on one pitch. All we are doing currently is take the conventional idea, and adapt it to modern trade. In reality, counter sales people, shopping racks, etc are all peripheral activities. If shopping point is second moment of truth, then we are oblivious to it