Gone shopping —digitally, by Manita Khuller [ARTICLE]

Gone shopping —digitally, by Manita Khuller [ARTICLE]

Our very own Regional Strategy & Planning Director, Manita Khuller, was recently featured in Marketing Magazine through an article she wrote on the topic of Digital Shopper Marketing. She and ADOI Magazine’s Director, Harmandar Singh aka Ham, agreed to share this piece on Action Packed. Click on the link below and enjoy.


Ever been wandering around hypermarket aisles wondering where they put Breakfast Cereals or which supermarket has the best prices for your weekly shop? Lost in the Electronics Mall seeking where you can find the new Samsung camera you saw in the paper or whether your favorite department store has those Jimmy Choo’s in the latest issue of Elle? We all face these frustrations as shoppers every week but technology has help afoot for us.


Coming together —two major trends

The two hottest topics in the world of marketing and communications are ‘shopper marketing’ and growth of ‘digital’ influences. Why are they hot? Because both marketers and retailers have awoken to the power of Digital media as a way to reach Consumers and shoppers of all ages, who are spending more and more time online or being reachable via electronic means. Both shopper marketing and digital media have evolved from a macro ‘one size fits all’ approach to reach masses to more targeted sophisticated one on one communication.


The advent of Shopper Marketing

Is it new or is it rebranded? Modern trade retailers have been marketing to their shoppers for years. However, Shopper Marketing as a strategy to grow profitable sales began to grab interest with retailers (and consequently suppliers who sell their brand through them) first about 5 years ago in the USA and Europe. Availability of shopper level sales data made it possible to dissect and analyze shopper types and behaviors —Shopper marketing was born... Shopper marketing is a hot topic today in marketing especially in more developed retail environments with retailers who are ever seeking a new way to reach out to their shoppers in order to build and maintain traffic to their stores rather than only discounting prices —more so in the most recent global economic crisis. The ‘Shopper Journey’ begins well before the store, as the desire is awakened in a consumer to fulfill a need to purchase.

Savvy modern trade retailers know that the answer is shopper loyalty —the key to sustainable growth. ‘Clean store’ policies already seen in the USA/Europe and emerging in Asia, will become more prevalent across all markets in modern trade retail formats. Restrictions will grow on large mass brand displays, with strict rules for in-store communications, mandated by retailers. Consequently, suppliers are scrambling to smarten up the way they reach out to consumers and shoppers who have been changed forever by the advent of modern day retailing.


What is Digital Media?

Very simply ‘digital media’ (as opposed to analog media) are usually electronic media that work on digital codes. But a non nerdy and more non interesting definition of digital media could be ‘the creative convergence of digital arts, science, technology and business for human expression, communication, social interaction and education’.

Source: Digital Media Alliance Florida


What is Digital Shopper Marketing?

Like Shopper marketing, digital marketing has as many definitions depending upon who you talk to! Digital media today however is not just TV or Internet websites; hence Digital marketing uses any means of state of the art digital /electronic media to influence consumers. It could be any of:

  • Online & Rich-Media Advertising 
  • E-Commerce/E-Business 
  • Intranet Sites 
  • Mobile Marketing 
  • Digital Outdoor 
  • Email Marketing
  • In store Moving Displays/In Store TV, Electronic Coupons, etc.

Like any other form of marketing it seeks to influence behavior. When digital marketing activities target potential shoppers along the ‘path to purchase’ in order to influence their shopping choices, you get Digital Shopper marketing.

61% of shopper decision of different types are made in store (Source: SDMIS, OgilvyAction), but today on the way to the store and in the store, shoppers and potential shoppers are being targeted by multiple digital interactions and messages, soon making analog shopper marketing a thing of the past.


Online —everywhere and all the time

Even in Asia, consumers of all ages have been swept along in the tsunami of online and mobile media —be it the internet or mobile telephone applications. Today you can be reached and reach anywhere by marketers via internet websites driven advertising communications or mobile telephones which have metamorphosed into mobile web/entertainment devices. You can now plan, chat, communicate, surf, game and shop on your mobile telephone. Internet access at average 15% of the population in Asia may be lower than the rest of world but 41% of the world’s online community lives in Asia Pacific. Mobile telephones with a 46% penetration number 1.5Bn registered lines in Asia and there are more mobile phones than internet connections. The mobile phone is the one thing that is carried everywhere and set to become a prime tool for digital shopper marketing in Asia.


Would you know it if you saw it?

At Christmas 2009, to update its 60-year-old tradition of presenting a children’s story in the windows of its flagship New York store, Saks Fifth Avenue teamed up with Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system- unveiled in a ceremony on November 23. Customers who visit the Fifth Avenue store also had the opportunity to meet with Microsoft experts and try out Windows 7 in PC lounges on the 8th and 9th floors. Customers were able to enter their holiday wishes using Twitter and have them appear in the windows along 50th Street in New York.

In Asia Pacific too, we are seeing retailers seizing the initiative in Digital Shopper Marketing.

Japan leads the way with leading grocery retailers like Seven&I and AEON who have started since 2007 to experiment with mobile phones as a way to operate cashless payment systems linked to their loyalty card schemes. Shoppers in Japan can swipe and pay with mobile phones instead of cards and there are over 5 mln such shoppers in Seven&I, Japan.

Already in Japan, Taiwan and parts of Asia Pacific, consumers /shoppers can use mobile phones to download additional content by reading graphic codes. Such codes can be found on packaging, websites, posters, leaflets etc. Phone cameras can photograph the codes and link to relevant content from anywhere.

TESCO Thailand has embarked on a strategic partnership with True Mobile Networks in order to set up new shopping applications via mobile phones. True has opened outlets in about 80 TESCO Lotus stores. 3G technology will enable multimedia services via voice, data, video and fax thereby making the mobile phone a personal shopping assistant.


Look out for..

If the future is any indication of the past ( as it usually is) , then new trends being seen in the USA and W European retail markets will follow into other world market and Asia soon.

  • At TESCO in the UK, shoppers can use IPhone’s new shopping applications to locate products in store or even locate individual stores that stock brand/products they are looking for.
  • More retailers are turning to Digital applications to drive traffic to their stores in the USA last quarter on line sales exceeded those in bricks and mortar retail —especially in the age group 18-34, 64% of consumers used their mobile phones for in store shopping activities.

  • In Japan, AEON is using increased mobile phone interactivity to target shopper with new promotions/advertising even ordering products. Japanese Retailers use mobile phones to give shoppers ingredient information or lead them to other stores /locations in the store.

  • Store loyalty programmes in Bangkok are going digital too. TOPS Supermarkets in Thailand with their SPOT Rewards loyalty programme not only mobile message card member with redeemable coupons they also have set up an interactive kiosk for cardholders in the store. If you forgot your card, simply your mobile phone number will do. At the entrance to the store, key in your SPOT card number and out pops a personal shopping list and the latest offers on that day.

Again retailers fostering a more personal relationship with their customers via in store experience and digital channels of communication. Ultimately there may be no need for membership cards and paper coupons


Emergence of the ‘Omni Shopper’

We are seeing the emergence of the ‘Omni-shopper’ and brand/marketers needing to being present in other aspects of consumer’s lives —not just in front of the TV or in the store or online. Winning brands need to be top of mind all the time, not just when a shopper is opting in to your brand and new digital technologies are making that possible every day.


March 2010 by Manita KhullerRegional Director —Strategy & Planning OgilvyAction Asia Pacific

Regional Executive Creative Director, Geometry Global Asia Pacific