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Retail

RPM Shopper Marketing

GUEST BLOG: Six ways to supercharge your shopper marketing

By John Viccars, Head of Strategy, RPM

Cutting through in an increasingly cluttered retail space to connect with shoppers is something that all brands are battling with. So how can you make your brand stand out and connect with shoppers? With ever more complex paths to purchase it can be hard to know how best to give your shopper marketing a boost. Through our experience working on many shopper campaigns over the years, we have come up with our six ways to supercharge your shopper marketing.

  1. Align with retailers’ agendas

Have you ever felt like other brands know things you don’t when it comes to activating outsider retailer templates or how much incremental space they have in store? It could be because they are just better at aligning (perhaps without even knowing they are), with their retailer’s agendas. Over our 24 years of RPM we’ve learnt that aligning with the strategic agendas is an essential for all our best shopper campaigns. If you don’t win over retailers by aligning with their agendas, it will be very hard to win with shoppers. It will also be hard to change your shelf positioning,  break free from retailer templates or reduce the amount of time your products are on price promotion. We’ve been developing ways to gather all the impactful insights to help us align with retailers’ agendas – from mapping their business landscape and what opportunities that might generate, to understanding each retailer’s unique shopper audiences and what effect that should have on our overall strategy. We call these bespoke strategic retailer plans an ‘RPM Retailer Bible’ – allowing brands to build stronger, more collaborative and longer relationships with retailers.

  1. Think shelf-back

When POPAI found that 76% of purchase decisions are made in-store, the industry stirred and started prioritising more the point of sale. As marketers, we should be influencing people right across the path to purchase, but if in-store is where the actual decision is made, isn’t that the true marketing battleground? P&G call it the ‘First Moment of Truth’ – the moment in which our audience have their first opportunity to truly engage with what we are trying to sell to them. So if in-store is the real battleground, we need to think back from the consumer’s ultimate barrier to purchase at the shelf-edge first, mapping the path to purchase backwards from there. Mapping back from this ultimate moment of truth ensures the hardest barrier to overcome is kept at the heart of the campaign strategy, leading to a better focus on the right problems to solve and more effective conversion.

By recognising an insightful shopper purchase barrier and developing work that meets that unmet need, you can avoid the at-shelf environment becoming a graveyard for great NPD and undeniably brilliant communications ideas that appeal to us all as consumers, but fail to cut through and impact shopper behaviour. It will also help your relationship with your customers, who will of course be motivated by a big-spending TV campaign, but day in day out, they’re focusing on maximising the return from their shelf space. They are much more likely to look favourably on those brands that make it their business to close the purchase loop in-store, at shelf, often unlocking discretionary display ops.

  1. Unlock the true power of occasions

Occasions are powerful ways to unlock opportunities at shelf and with consumers. They are the mental shortcuts that can make a huge difference to your shopper marketing. The way our memory works, occasions are one of the most efficient and easy to build memory structures for brands. We have an episodic memory – storing events and experience- which enables us to create mental shortcuts between things and moments. Think of a sunny summer afternoon in a park, or Christmas – what are the brands that come to mind? Context helps our brains to create long-lasting associations between brands and occasions. This is especially important in the retail environment because shoppers shop with the occasion in mind. Depending on the shopping mission (impulse, weekly etc…) behaviours and motivations change, but the consumption occasion is the determining end goal for our shoppers. Providing the right occasion cues at the right time can sway consumers, triggering them to pick your brand for that specific occasion, which is why brands must strive to create durable behavioural loops and mental triggers that flex from occasions to shopper environments. Don’t just leverage occasions, make the most of them to create virtuous circles.

  1. Learn to spot effective shopper creative

To stop, engage and convert shoppers to purchase you need great creative ideas. Spotting them can be hard, but there are some characteristics that endure across great shopper creative. Firstly, great shopper creative is bold – in cluttered retail environments, it’s hard to stand out, often the single-minded messaging clearly executed will win out. Secondly, it pays off to be brave, so don’t be afraid to try something truly original. If the strategy behind it is strong, the creative can be brave. Concepts that really leverage desirability, like limited edition packs for example can work really well, as well as digital concepts that should not be ignored like mobile phone push notifications, social media conversations or digital displays. Most importantly, let your brand personality shine through and pull on the heartstrings of your target market – whether you are the instigator of fun or the bringer of light to the world. Being true to your brand will give you a much better chance of converting.

  1. Add value to trade away from deals

Getting trapped in a series of deals can do serious damage to your brand if you don’t find new ways to break the cycle. Deals aren’t going away, and they are often how shoppers navigate the store. However, the truth is that brands rarely get credit for their investment in price promotion as shoppers tend to believe it is retailers that they have to thank for cheaper products, not brands. Deals also reduce the opportunity for your products to be anything other than just practical solutions to functional problems. So while retailers benefit, it’s really a no win for your brand equity and long-term shopper behaviour change. When we shop we are thinking about occasions and unmet needs, so there is a real opportunity for emotionally engaging added value that can do far more for your brand than price cuts. There are endless opportunities here – for example, we’ve delivered festival tickets to raise awareness in the drinks category, as well as recipe cards and glassware. The best bit? They all involve investing less than you would on a standard piece of price promotion. When the story is based on deeper insights and better, more engaging brand experiences – you will create more powerful connections with shoppers without damaging your brand.

  1. Get out more

Only when we experience the things affecting our brands in real terms can we really understand them – letting them guide valuable strategic change. However, it can be hard to find the time to follow all the new trends and get out there and experience them. Whether it’s the latest cutting-edge tech being used in new flagship stores, underground consumer trends set to affect categories next year, or underground brands beating their biggest competitors on retail shelves, they will all affect your brand and you need to know about them. It’s vital to keep a track on what’s going on outside of your own brand, and these trends can provide inspiration and guidance to boost your shopper marketing. Getting out and experiencing these trends yourself will help you to convert in any retail environment as you know the things affecting your shoppers today, and what is likely coming around the corner.

To win with shoppers in retail you need to find ways to cut through all the noise and connect with them. These six ways to boost your shopper marketing will help you to do this, improving conversion in retail environments whether online or offline.

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Retail enjoys strong showing in Top Track listing

A flurry of retailers have been featured within the weekend’s Sunday Times Top Track 250 listing.

Top Track 250 ranks Britain’s private mid-market companies by sales, with required growth in profit or sales.

Retailers (with rankings) featuring in the Top Track in 2017 included:

  1. Holland & Barrett – Health food and supplements
  2. West Retail Group – Kitchens/electronics
  3. The Hut Group – Online retailer
  4. Lush – Cosmetics
  5. Waterstones – Books
  6. Day Lewis – Pharmaceuticals
  7. Kurt Geiger – Shoes
  8. Caffe Nero – Coffee Shops
  9. Dreams – Beds
  10. AllSaints – Fashion
  11. Fat Face – Clothing
  12. Charles Tyrwhitt – Clothing
  13. Matchesfashion.com – Luxury fashion
  14. The White Company – Lifestyle
  15. Richer Sounds – Audio Visual
  16. Dobbies Garden Centres – Garden centres
  17. The Works – Value retailer
  18. Footasylum – Footwear and fashion
  19. Buy It Direct – Laptop and appliances
  20. Reiss – Fashion
  21. Cath Kidston – Lifestyle
  22. Paperchase – Stationery and cards

The Top Track 250 is produced by Fast Track, the Oxford firm that researches Britain’s top-performing private companies and organizes dinners for their owners and directors to network and meet its sponsors. For the Top Track 250, companies must have operating margins that exceed two per cent. Sales must be growing year-on-year by 10 per cent or more for companies with the lowest sales; this proportion of growth is graduated by five per cent for the firms with the highest sales. Sales must be no more than £650m and are taken from the latest accounts, excluding shares from joint ventures and associate companies.

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Jingle bells, as Selfridges opens Christmas shop

Selfridges has opened its Christmas shop with the theme for 2017 being ‘With Love From.’

The move has been met with a mixture of surprise, excitement and bewilderment by customers passing through the fourth floor of London’s Oxford Street store, with fake fir trees and a jolly Santa greeting people months ahead of the big day.

Opening the Christmas shop last month, the store featured a curated range of London inspired Christmas products, with Christmas food items rolling out last week.

The full 130,000 product range, including 51,000 baubles and 65 light and tree options will commence withy phase two in September.

Speaking about the early opening of the Christmas shop, Selfridges Christmas and home buyer Eleanor Gregory, said: “We’ve been opening the doors to our Christmas Shop during the summer for years now and have become a real destination for fans of Christmas and festive decorations within and outside the UK.

“Some customers return to us year after year, excited at the prospect of discovering the new ranges and adding to their collections.

“They include a large number of domestic customers who love to Christmas shop very early in the year to get it wrapped and taken off their to-do list.

“This new extension to our usual offer is addressing this growing demand for convenience – domestic customers who love to Christmas shop very early in the year to get it wrapped and taken off their to-do list.”

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BHG partners with Eurostop for EPOS

Department store group BHG has completed its first rollout of Eurostop’s EPOS systems in the newest of its seven outlets in Singapore. The location is at Jurong Point, Singapore’s largest suburban mall and a major shopping attraction in the area.

From sign-up to go live, Eurostop successfully completed the rapid rollout of its systems, including integration to existing architecture, in just over three months. Part of the project involved full customisation of the software to connect to other BHG business systems, including CRM, payments and staff system. BHG’s new EPOS estate launched with 1,000 promotions running simultaneously across its department store.

Serene Tan, executive director of BHG Group said: “Despite a difficult economic climate we have been successful in retaining and attracting customers by remaining relevant to today’s shoppers. We have the right tools to refresh our merchandise categories regularly, as well as innovative visual merchandising strategies and the ability to run in-store promotions to remain relevant. Our investment in Eurostop retail systems is central to enable us to maintain a smart brand mix, yet still maintaining a tight control on stock turnover and profit margins.”

Eurostop was founded in the UK in 1990 and provides global EPOS and retail solutions to the fashion, footwear, jewellery and general merchandise retail industries.

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Rising inflation troubles retail

A survey by London-based information and analysis company IHS Markit has found that the firm’s index measuring sentiment of UK households’ personal finances dropped from 47.1 to 45.8 between May and June, marking one of the lowest readings since 2013 and the lowest for three months.
“June’s survey reveals that UK household finances remain under intense pressure from rising living costs,” said IHS Markit senior economist Tim Moore.
“While the squeeze moderated slightly since last month, worries about the outlook have deepened.”
58% or respondents also expected interest rates to rise over the next 12 months, more than double the figure post Brexit referendum.
As the pound dropped further following the General Election, the Bank of England (BoE) kept rates to 0.25% in a bid to steady the financial ship. However, three of the right members of the Monetary Policy Committee voted for an increase, with widespread speculation of an imminent hike in rates.
This, along with inflation hitting a four-year high and outpacing BoE predictions, has caused concern within retail.
“Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, also unexpectedly picked up in May, reaching 2.6 per cent, the fastest since November 2012,” commented eCommera’s head of insight Alex Hamilton.
“The concern for retailers is that weak consumer confidence, amid political uncertainty and falling real wages, will make shoppers more price conscious, at a time when many brands are looking to pass on cost rises to their customers in a bid to protect margins.”

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Contactless payments account for 51% of card sales

New data from Barclaycard’s Contactless Spending Index has revealed that 51 per cent of in-store transactions are made using ‘touch and go’ technology, up more than a third (34%) since the beginning of the year.
Industry body UK Cards Association (UKCA) has also revealed that credit and debit payments have doubled in the past 10 years, with the increased use of contactless driving the surge.
“Our data shows that growth in contactless spending has been surging for several years, but this latest insight is particularly significant as it shows shoppers now prefer to pay with ‘touch and go’, with more than half of eligible transactions made this way,” commented Adam Herson, mobile payments director, Barclaycard.
“September will mark the tenth anniversary of Barclaycard introducing contactless to the UK and during this time we’ve seen the technology evolve at a rapid pace – from mobile and wearable devices – to invisible payments such as our newly launched ‘Grab+Go’ concept, which allows consumers to scan and pay for their shopping with a smartphone.
“And with more innovation in the pipeline and a continued rise in consumer and merchant adoption, 2017 is on track to be another record-breaking year for contactless spending.”
Use of contactless has increased in the Midlands and the North of England more than anywhere else in the UK, with the biggest jumps in spending seen in Derby (up 45%), Chester (44%), Newcastle Upon Tyne (42%), Coventry (42%) and Stoke-on-Trent (41%).

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UK retail sales slump in May

A rise of 2.7% in inflation, the highest level in nearly four years, has had a dramatic effect on retail with sales suffering a 0.4% drop through the month of May.

The figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that sales rose 0.2% in May, against a 1.4% in May 2016, the lowest since January, excluding Easter Bank Holiday distortions.

The report also details how Food sales increased 3.2% on a like-for-like basis over the three months to May, 4.3% on a total basis – the highest three-month growth since 2012 rising 3.2% in the quarter to May.

Over the same period, Non-Food retail sales in the UK decreased 0.3% on a like-for-like basis and increased 0.1% on a total basis, making it the worst performance recorded since may 2011.

Online sales of Non-Food products grew 7.0%, while in-store sales declined 1.8% on a Total basis and 2.3% on a like-for-like basis, below the like-for-like 12 month average decline of 2.0%.

Commenting on the figures, Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive British Retail Consortium, said: “After the pick-up in sales over Easter, consumer spending slowed again in May resulting in almost flat growth on the previous year. Underneath the headlines, there’s continued variation in the performance of food versus non-food products, as sales performance of the two become increasingly polarised.

“Food sales, albeit positively distorted by inflation, continue to see annual growth, while in non-food categories which are predominantly capturing discretionary spending, retailers find themselves having to compete even harder.
“Overall, May’s sales slowdown is indicative of a longer term trend of a decline in consumer spending power. As household budgets become increasingly squeezed by inflation, predominantly in the non-retail part of the consumer basket, it’s vital that the next Government helps retailers keep prices low for ordinary shoppers. This means, as well as securing a tariff-free trade deal with the EU, negotiating frictionless customs arrangements; providing certainty for EU colleagues working in the UK; and ensuring the continuity of existing EU legislation as it transfers into UK law.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail added:“After the surge in retail sales last month – the by-product of this year’s relatively late Easter – retailers have been brought back down to earth with a thump. Like-for-like retail sales contracted in May, which is likely to represent a more accurate depiction of the state of UK retail currently.
“The impact of inflationary pressures on the nation’s purse continues to play out in this month’s figures, with shoppers evidently spending more on food and drink than on non-food purchases. With inflation continuing to rise and wage growth stagnating, consumers are starting to feel the pinch – although the highly competitive nature of the UK grocery market continues to play out in the consumer’s favour.

“Many retailers, particularly fashion stores, will be poised and ready to make the most of the upcoming summer, so hopefully the weather will play fair. An increased focus on managing costs will dominate the retail agenda. More imminently though, eyes will be firmly placed on the outcome of the General Election, with close attention being paid to the implications it might have on the industry.”

www.brc.org.uk

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Tesco and Dixons Carphone forge new deal

Tesco has confirmed a new deal with Dixons Carphone to trial concessions within some of the retailer’s largest supermarkets.

Dixons Carphone, which owns tech retailer Currys PC World, will launch two new outlets this summer in Tesco Extra stores located in Milton Keynes and Northampton.

Both concessions will stock a range of Currys PC World products, including white goods, computers, televisions and accessories, along with Dixons Carphone laptop repair service.

In a direct response to its key rival Sainsbury’s inclusion of Argos stores, Tesco said the new partnership would offer customers the “best possible range of services”.

Both stores will be on trial for a year before any decisions are made regarding further roll-outs.

“We’re always looking at ways to offer our customers the best possible range of services in our stores,” Tesco UK chief executive Matt Davies said.

“We think this is a winning combination for customers and look forward to opening the first outlet in our Milton Keynes store in July.”

Dixons Carphone’s UK and Ireland chief executive Katie Bickerstaffe said: “Customers tell us they want to pick up the latest electrical products conveniently and at competitive prices, with expert advice and from someone they trust to keep them working seamlessly.

“This trial gives them all of this during a weekly grocery shop, which we hope they will enjoy.”

 

 

 

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Which? reveals best and worst on High Street

A survey by consumer watchdog Which? of over 10,000 consumers has revealed the best and worst shops on the High Street.

The customer scores given are based on customers’ experiences of purchasing non-food items, satisfaction levels and likelihood of recommending each shop.

DIY store Toolstation is joint-top for the second year running (having shared first place with John Lewis in 2016), while Richer Sounds is in the number one spot after coming joint-third last year. The electrical chain last topped the Which? survey in 2011.

Harvey Nichols has jumped from 21st place last year to third place this time around, with customers citing a love of its products as well as the stores themselves.

Waterstones returns to the top five for the first time since 2014. The book retailer is welcomed back into the top bracket of the Which? shopping survey on the back of recent news that book sales reached a record £3.5 billion last year.

“The best retailers, Richer Sounds and Toolstation, continue to strike the right balance by selling quality products at reasonable prices,” commented Richard Headland, editor of Which? magazine. “It’s a simple formula, but that’s why they consistently score well with shoppers in the Which? survey.”

Top rated shops:
• (1) Richer Sounds – 80% (128)
• = Toolstation – 80% (132)
• (3) Harvey Nichols – 79% (118)
• = John Lewis – 79% (542)
• = Waterstones – 79% (266)
• (6) Apple – 78% (129)
• = Bodycare – 78% (213)
• (8) The Perfume Shop – 77% (209)
• (9) Card Factory – 76% (218)
• = Cotswold Outdoor – 76% (125)
• = Go Outdoors – 76% (192)
• = Screwfix – 76% (186)

Bottom  rated shops:
• (88) Clinton Cards – 62% (128)
• = JD Sports – 62% (191)
• = Robert Dyas – 62% (232)
• = Sainsbury’s – 62% (278)
• = Tesco – 62% (264)
• = Topshop/Topman – 62% (181)
• (94) EE – 61% (146)
• = Peacocks – 61% (224)
• = Vodafone – 61% (134)
• (97) Poundstretcher – 60% (263)
• (98) Poundland – 59% (103)
• (99) WH Smith – 56% (225)
• (100) Morrisons – 55% (153)

Numbers in brackets represent the number of responses for each retailer.

Full results of the survey can be viewed here

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April retail footfall boosted by Easter shopping

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Springboard Footfall & Vacancies Monitor revealed a 1.6% growth in footfall in April compared to 2016, above the average three-month growth of 0.7% and the fastest growth month in shopper numbers for three years.

The news comes after a difficult March trading period, which saw retail sales drop 1.0% from March 2016.

The April figures mark the first positive quarter since May 2014, with consumer spending dropping in the 10 months since Britain voted for Brexit and the average consumer feeling the impacts of rising inflation. However, the April figure is likely to be distorted due to the late timing of Easter this year.

“As expected, the Easter holidays provided the welcome boost to retail sales, which goes some way to making up for the disappointing start to the year,” Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s chief executive said.

“The inclusion of the holidays in this period will have distorted this figure but even looking beyond this, the picture over the last quarter has been largely positive.”

Paul Lewis, senior director of marketing at Voucher Codes and RetailMeNot urged retailers to take a smart approach to counter strenuous trading conditions for consumers and make the most of the bank holiday at the end of the month by ensuring digital and physical work together to increase overall sales figures.

“Last year, VoucherCodes.co.uk, part of RetailMeNot discovered that mobile devices unlocked £200 million sales in-store, therefore as we get closer to the May half term and Summer holidays, retailers could be expecting a busy shopping weekend on the high street,” commented Lewis.

“Shopping is no longer divided into the plain and simple clicks vs bricks – the lines are blurred now more than ever and consumers expect to switch between the two experiences seamlessly.

“Shoppers want to investigate competitor prices, check stock location and read consumer reviews all whilst standing right there within the store.”