(By: Raj Afable)
Everybody’s passionate about shopper communication. Others invest in insight gathering to make sure consumer feedback is taken cared of from product development to actual retail experience. But how serious are we in making sure the whole 360 of this process is safeguarded to ensure maximum brand image and experience is delivered inside the retail store at any given time and day?
Retailers make sure the total shopping experience is easy and memorable by creating a more modern design by providing appropriate locators, bigger aisles, fully lighted stores and providing shopper friendly but knowledgeable store ambassadors to assist shoppers for any inquiries while browsing the store.
Promotional programs are also developed to build loyalty to the retail outlet and build a more community based and stable network. Other in-store fixtures are being explored by retailers to make sure shoppers linger more inside the store to influence and encourage them more to do the actual purchase.
Parking spaces are also a great barrier to the shopping experience, which other retailers offer for free as long as you present an actual receipt upon exit.
Some stores offer an online shopping app where the actual goods are delivered to your doorstep at your own desired time—this is answering to an insight from working parents who want to have more quality time at home after work.
All these retailer efforts cost a substantial amount of money that needs to be protected and maximized. Have you been to a retail store on a regular basis? Have you noticed newly installed permanent or semi-permanent fixtures look amazing but after week or two they already look horrible and we just let it be because fixing it requires another budget request? But does it make any good to the brand in general? Does the retail store keeps its visual merchandising look and makes the shopping experience still worth it? The store and the brand suffer more through poorly maintained shopper marketing communication fixtures. How do we ensure we are consistent in terms of branding and the shopping experience we provide?
The Brand on the other hand allocate millions each year to make sure they stay ahead of competitor in their respective categories by creating campaigns on a regular basis to engage shoppers and consumers. Ideas are all great as they went through all the process of in-sighting, focused group discussions, simulations and all possible edits and re-edits to make sure they come up with the best solution for that particular campaign. All those sleepless nights, arguments, exchange of ideas, revisions and idea presentations need to be protected after actual implementation. It has to be consistent to make the brand more credible and serious in its effort to engage shoppers. It should not be a one-night stand kind of thing; we want to build a relationship with shoppers. We have to stay beautiful and in great shape all the time or they’ll start to ignore and look for a more serious brand to engage with. Are we letting that happen when we have the power to make sure we keep the shopper loyal to our brand and make and even stronger bond?
Protect your in-store communication investment. Keep your brand image and shopper experience memorable at all time. As communicators, we have to make sure our message is crystal clear at all time not just on the first week of merchandising material installation. Keep the retail space engaging and help in making the shopping experience worthwhile, influence and not confuse shoppers. Be consistent at all time, protect your retail space, protect your brand…..keep your shoppers happy.
About the Author:
Raj Afable is an award-winning creative director turned Shopper Communications practitioner. He helped create a design agency with the objective of providing a science to local shopper marketing industry and engaging shoppers and brands inside the selling-area. He has been a creative coach, mentor and consultant and currently works at Print and Mount, Inc. a total BTL agency that provides design, printing, events and activation services.
The article is first published on Philippine Retailing Q4 2018 issue.