Showing posts with label shopping behaviour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shopping behaviour. Show all posts

Thursday 10 July 2014

Former Apple retail chief: Only 1 in 100 Apple store visitors actually buys...

According to a new interview reported in, "The Apple store's a place to be," Ron Johnson said. Not a place to shop, a place to be, in a redefinition of shopping experience....

(Ron Johnson was brought in from Target to set up the Apple store, 'giving reasons to visit and figuring out how to create more intimacy, relationship and experience in stores, but it does not mean you have to buy...')

Yet 'rule-breaker' Apple  is usually the busiest shop in the shopping centre, and generates annual sales per sq. ft. of £2,654 compared with £1,100 for UK mults...

(See the full 50 minute interview at Stanford Graduate School of Business on YouTube)

Simply food-for-thought in classic grocery retailing?

Or a fundamental challenge to our assumptions re collaboration with retailers in connecting with a brand via the in-store experience?

Monday 25 November 2013

Face and barcode scanning a little passe? Ground-Breaking project to brain-scan shoppers...

Dr Paul Mullins and Dr Helen Morgan from the School of Psychology put a shopper through the fMRI scanner.

Psychologists at Bangor University are to brain-scan supermarket-shoppers to test their reactions to promotions and special offers in a major cutting-edge project  with one of Europe’s leading shopping behaviour specialists.

The project, to be carried out jointly by UK-based SBXL and the respected School of Psychology, will ask selected shoppers to simulate an £80 grocery shop in a supermarket, while going through a £3m 20-ton medical fMRI scanner.

A full range of supermarket products are displayed on a screen in front of them and they are asked to make normal shopping choices from a shopping list while faced with a wide range or promotions and special offers. The aim is to identify which part of the brain is involved in making choices by measuring blood flow and brain activity.

Early research suggests that around 23 minutes into their shop, customers begin to make choices with the emotional part of their brain – which can only guess at value for money – rather than the cognitive part of the brain which is capable of computation and logical decision-making. Results also show that after 40 minutes – the time taken for a typical weekly shop – the brain gets tired and effectively shuts down, ceasing to form rational thoughts.

Previous SBXL research that the brain behaves illogically when faced with the sort of information overload that shoppers are faced with in a typical supermarket. Previous research has shown us that nearly 20 per cent of shoppers are likely to put special offers in their basket even if they are more expensive than the normal product, and we know that nearly half of shoppers ignore buy-one-get-one-free items and only choose one.

Given that approximately a quarter of all products on supermarket shelves are on some kind of offer or promotion, this indicates that many millions of pounds at stake in lost margins if the supermarkets are getting it wrong. SBXL estimates that supermarkets and brands consistently give away 23 per cent more margin than they need to.

Hopefully, the research will help suppliers and retailers get to a closer realisation and satisfaction of real shopper 'need', rather than 'want'...

In other words, although the shopper is behaving illogically in selecting a 'special offer' that is more expensive than the normal product, there is perhaps more mileage for the retailer in pointing out the shopper's 'error' than making a few pence extra on the 'mis-purchase'...

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Who’s minding the shopper?

The old deathbed story raises an interesting dilemma in retailing today:
An elderly shopkeeper on his deathbed asks for his wife and then for each of his six children. When the last one replies “I’m here” the old guy demands: “then who’s minding the shop?”

In other words, if the key retail stakeholders are all pre-occupied with survival and continuity of the business, then who’s minding the shopper?

Most of us accept the fact that, given the extent of their loyalty-data insight, compared with that of the supplier, and if knowledge defines ownership, the major retailers now ‘own’ the shopper. Despite the fact that a retailer’s knowledge is mainly derived from analysis of shopping behaviour, their increasing share of consumption via own label growth also means that they have potential access to the shopper’s consumers, and their consumption behaviour.

They are thus capable of leveraging shopper insight in also taking ownership of the consumer…

Unfortunately, ownership does not guarantee action in the best interests of the shopping consumer…
This means that brand owners need to enter the aisle and ‘hand-hold’ the shopper in an attempt to complete the intended purchase in favour of brand-consumer and supplier…

More in this month’s edition of NamNews, now in your mailbox.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Shop bans Google goggles: a first in UK retail?


Just days after they were delivered to the first early adopters who signed up last year to be the first to buy the ‘explorer edition’, a Brighton shop has banned access to shoppers wearing the new gadget.

Google Glass, worn like a pair of glasses, has the ability to record images and take photos, operating like a mobile phone or tablet. Arts and crafts souvenir shop Zoingimage, in Sydney Street, has posted signs on their windows banning the use of the device on their premises.

Google Glass’s ability to take photos secretly, unlike via a phone, are the real issue behind the bans. This ease with which privacy could be invaded makes it a challenge for schools, cinemas, museums,  art galleries and shops.

The key issue for NAMs is whether such bans mark a return to the ‘old’ no-photo rules on store-checks, or will shopper-pressure force retailers to allow the addition of Google Glass to the tool-kit of the super-savvy consumer, adding to pricing transparency in the aisle…

However, pro-active retailers, and their trading partners, are no doubt already seeking ways of communicating with such shoppers' eye-piece at point of purchase…

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Bionic Mannequins are Keeping an Eye on Shoppers to Boost Luxury Sales

The EYE SEE mannequin from Almax S.p.A. (Italy) in collaboration with Kee Square makes it possible to observe who is attracted by store windows and visual displays using facial recognition software. The software, powered by IBM, uses a camera embedded in one eye that feeds data into facial-recognition software like that used by police. It can track age range, gender, race, number of people and dwell time.

The €4,000 ($5,072) device has spurred shops to adjust window displays, store layouts and promotions to keep consumers walking in the door and spending.

According to Bloomberg, Benneton US are among five retailers currently trialling the mannequin camera.

A step too far?
Like all attempts to monitor shopper behaviour, the innovation raises privacy issues for both staff and shoppers. Staff issues could be managed via loading of all personnel pics into the software and eliminating them from the tracking, hopefully….

However, given that privacy tends to be less of an issue when consumer needs are being met via tailored offerings, like with Amazon’s relevant emails, providing the store can demonstrate reactive use of the insight, then size and quality of basket will deliver the ultimate endorsement.

Friday 28 September 2012

Facebook gets physical...via new gift service to sell real goods

According to the FT, Facebook has launched a gift-service that allows users to send novelty items to friends, via revenue-sharing agreements with its partner-retailers.

The Amazonian elephant in the room…
However, despite the advantage of background personal insight, Facebook missed a big retrospective-trick by failing to anticipate the need for physical location details and not requesting personal addresses when members’ originally registered with the social network. Furthermore, given Amazon’s 1-click innovator’s advantage, Facebook is condemned to forever playing catch-up to the online retailer’s speed, efficiency and database…

Fulfilment issues for trade-partners
Given that volume-gifting will be mainly low-priced novelty items, partner-retailers face the triple whammy of securing addresses, 'instant' shipping of low-value items and awaiting their share of revenue, in a world where fast single-step purchase is king…

For suppliers, the issue becomes one of being able to anticipate the volume and speed required should a novelty gift-item catch on big-time with the Facebook community (for openers, think hundreds of millions…fast!).

Overall assessment
Better for Facebook to revert to virtual, and find digital gifting-options that meet the same needs…(or even partnering Amazon…). This could represent a real opportunity for service-suppliers to evolve ways of digitising their offering via Facebook (i.e. ‘Have a Guinness on me for your birthday!’ NB. an example only…nothing beats the real cash-based shared-experience !)

(but meanwhile, no harm in Facebook seeking ways of harvesting physical addresses from their vast connected-community, just-in-case…)

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Tesco trials UK’s first virtual stores

                                                                                      pic: The Financial Times
Tesco on Monday launched a two-week trial of the UK’s first interactive virtual grocery store at London’s Gatwick airport, following positive results in Korea,  an innovation which generated 25 million online posts around the globe. See Tesco Vid

Holiday-makers in the North Terminal departure lounge can browse 80 core products, from milk and bread to toilet paper, displayed on 10 large refrigerator-sized touch screens. They can scan bar codes with a smartphone to place them in a online shopping basket, and arrange for delivery when they return from holiday.

On-site help
There are staff on hand to explain how it works, to talk shoppers through how to download the app and sign up to – if they aren’t already using it – and even a couple of iPads to let customers sign up there and then.

Roll-out options?
If the trial is successful, Tesco could position the interactive screens anywhere members of the public congregate, the only limitation being cost-effectiveness…

Korea reality vs. the UK?
However, a key difference between the two markets is that the online-distribution infrastructure in Korea is so well advanced that it is possible for commuters to place an online order en route and have the goods delivered on arrival home.

UK distribution limitations
In the UK it will be necessary for Tesco to so manage expectation that the new facility will be seen as an enhancement to normal online shopping, fitting in with the shopper’s routine ordering-delivery process.

Direct vs broadcast media?
In terms of funding, the bar-code units will probably replace traditional poster-advertising, whilst much of Tesco’s Press and TV media could possibly be converted to direct-response advertising by incorporating bar-codes wherever possible. It would also be possible to auction some premium product-space to appropriate brand-owners.

Threat to traditional media?
The future of Tesco’s remaining media usage, thus challenged by measurable response, has to be open to question, in these unprecedented times.
In response, major brand owners may explore the application of bar-codes to their own eposter advertising, directing consumers to trade-partner retailers, by negotiation…

Either way, we are on the brink of fully complementary shopping, adding another spoke to the wheel of omni-channel fulfillment…
A pointer for your omni-channel NAM? 

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Touch but don't press - How daily Apples have become unhealthy for the competition

Latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel reveal that in the UK, more than one in seven people now have a tablet in their household and over 52% of the population own a smartphone. Couple this global realisation that tapping keys have become increasingly out-of-tune with consumer intuition and it can be seen why Apple have forced Microsoft, Blackberry and Nokia into catch-up mode…forever in pursuit of Apple’s innovator advantage.
In other words, Apple have made ‘screen-touching’ the only future…

A touching retail experience
Add to this the escalating success of Apple’s retail outlets, and it can be seen that the company is successfully applying the same fundamental creativity to retailing by populating its outlets with non-virtual Apple people! In fact, over the past five years, the company created 35,852 retail jobs, all acting as representatives for one of the best known brands in the world, optimising their unique combination of retail plus online plus a daily dialogue with enthusiastic users that few tech companies can duplicate.
In practice, their stores are more about being the front line for Apple advertising, rather than a ‘normal’ retail experience.

Helping people buy...
However, this experience of the ultra-softsell, in an open-table environment littered with products in constant use by enthusiastic shoppers, and continual access to human advice, can be addictive. In fact, this tactile experience, coupled with the realisation that the price cannot be bettered elsewhere, makes buying compulsive.
A frustrating lesson for ‘normal’ retailers everywhere….

Applying the Apple lessons to your business
Seth Godin extracts 10 iPad lessons to enhance your product launches, especially in niche markets.

Can you risk being out-of-touch in an Apple-free personal-corporate life balance that does not include a daily bite of the inevitapple?

Friday 8 June 2012

Morrisons feeds Big Brother, really!

In a UK supermarket first, the new deal allows budget-conscious housemates on the show to buy groceries from Morrisons in their weekly shop, delivered on screen in the supermarket’s trademarked bags…

This link with the UK’s most down-to-earth grocer should help keep some of the most extreme housemates grounded, thus minimising the possible emergence of the “Truman Show” Delusion now becoming more common in the US…

“Truman Show” delusion?
In fact, psychiatrists are seeing an increase in the number of patients who think they are the unwilling star of a secret reality show. This “Truman Show” delusion may be the first mental illness to come out of the 21st century's obsession with quick and easy fame.

The First Lawsuit
Nicholas Marzano believes he is the subject of a secret reality show, and everyone in his town of Hillside, Illinois is in on it. He's suing TV company HBO in federal court for, in his words, "filming and broadcasting a hidden camera reality show depicting the day-to-day activities of plaintiff" without his consent. His suit, filed in April, alleges that HBO has hidden cameras throughout his home, installed controlling devices in his car, enlisted the help of local police, and recruited actors to portray "attorneys, government and law enforcement officials, physicians, employers, prospective employers, family, friends, neighbours, and co-workers," all so that their show about his life can continue. Marzano also says HBO is keeping him from getting a job or paying his bills, so that he will be forced to remain on the show…..
(See a further 5 case studies here.)

For NAMs and KAMs with a compulsion to read all of the source material, the real article is available for sale by the journal Cognitive Neuropsychiatry

A reality wake-up call?

The real issue is the extent to which we are all in the process of emerging from a 30-year ‘unreality’ show, with growth built on credit, a world where forecasting meant adding 10% to last year’s figures, and a combination of inflation and devaluation, all ably managed by trusted politicians and bankers, helping to sustain unreal levels of ‘feel-good’ consumerism…

This unprecedented wake-up call means we are all now playing for real at having to think for ourselves, unwilling to outsource our decision-making to retailers and marketers, determined to settle for nothing less than demonstrable value-for-money, ever again….

Have a really nice weekend, from the NamNews Team!

Friday 4 May 2012

Target to delist Kindle, fed-up ‘show-rooming’ for online...

Target, the US mass market discounter, communicated the decision to stores last week, and underlines growing antagonism between Amazon and bricks ‘n mortar retailers, which are threatened by the online retailer’s aggressive discounting, entry into new merchandise categories and attractive shipping service.
Target reported last November that the Kindle was the best-selling tablet in its stores on the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, typically the busiest shopping day of the year.
Target has in the past complained about the practice of “show-rooming”, a growing habit by shoppers to view a product in-store and then buy it from an online seller.
Apart from threatening the stability of routes to market for a number of key non-food categories, this move raises an important issue re the relationship between suppliers and specialist retailers.

Specialist shops viability
Essentially, as you know, the purpose of specialist shops in categories such as toys, bookselling, consumer-electronics and home entertainment is to meet a fundamental consumer-shopper need to physically experience the product. When specialists’ retail prices are so out of line with alternative formats, it is inevitable that having ‘pressed the buttons’ on a piece of electronic equipment in a specialist outlet, the shopper will invariably make a purchase online at a significant discount. There is no legal way of ensuring fulfilment of the sale by the specialist retailer unless via a price differential that is so low that purchasing elsewhere is not worth the trouble.

Even the mass retailers are under pressure from Amazon 
It has to be expected that as bricks ‘n mortar specialist shops cannot compete with online providers they need help in optimising their business model. The major multiples have reached market dominance by taking state-of-art retailing to new highs, in effect becoming expert shopkeepers.  In fact, these major multiple retailers have set global standards in state-of-art retailing that have redefined shop-keeping, and these standards need to be met by specialist retailers in order to survive.

Role of the supplier in helping the survival of specialist retailers
In practice, suppliers need to be retail business consultants to specialist and independent shops, helping them to adapt state-of-art retailing techniques and practices to their operations.  However, as the cost of this level of service would rarely be covered by the size of the resulting order, suppliers need to change their approach to calculating the profitability of some customer types. Because specialist and sometimes independent customers are ‘educating’ the consumer and ‘show-rooming’ the product, they are in fact performing an advertising function for the brand. They therefore need compensation by way of additional margin and help in becoming more effective shopkeepers.

Budgeting tip to help specialist retailers
Should we not therefore charge say 50% of the cost of servicing them to the advertising budget, and continue to call if the remaining cost is covered by size of average order?
Otherwise find a new way of show-rooming your brand and re-engaging the consumer….

Meanwhile, have a long, experiential weekend, from the NamNews Team! 

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Touching response-rates in improving buying appetite, twofold

In these unprecedented times, when every little helps, light touching of the other party can apparently impart a subliminal sense of caring and connection, leading to more successful social interactions, better teamwork and even shopping behaviour.

In a new study ranging from dating to restaurant tipping and following the waiter’s advice, passersby responding to surveys in a mall, and the percentage of shoppers in a supermarket who purchase food they had sampled, it would appear that suppliers and retailers are missing a trick by not building more touching opportunities into the shopping experience.

Impressing the researcher...
Given that the author Leonard Mlodinow is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, with an appetite for statistical significance, even he was surprised to find a twofold increase in response rates following a light touch on the arm…

Not convinced?
Some scepticism is understandable. After all, some people recoil when a stranger touches them. And it is possible that some of the subjects in the studies did recoil but that their reactions were outweighed by the reactions of those who reacted positively.

However, for those finding this blog-post an answer to a personal history of low-success social encounters, and are even tempted to experiment without further delay, it must be emphasised that these were all very subtle touches, not gropes. In fact, in studies in which the touched person was later debriefed about the experience, typically less than one-third of the subjects were even aware that they had been touched.

Apart from being an obvious pointer for Tesco in helping to warm up the shopping experience, there is surely an application in terms of supplier-retailer negotiation, both within and following a multilevel and multifunctional handshake routine…?
(Thanks to Andrew Sullivan)

Thursday 26 April 2012

Complex mobile-payments tools a big turnoff for mobile-shoppers?

Anyone who has experienced Amazon’s 1-click shopping soon becomes increasingly frustrated at the constant ‘repetition’ of lengthy account creation procedures on less sophisticated sites, akin to standing in a shop queue and not being allowed to go to the cashier without giving up your email address and setting up a password.

Lost opportunities
New research indicates that the total amount of revenue currently being lost by users exiting at the checkout stage as a result of an inefficient purchasing process is £2.4 billion – £470 million, thus removing the ‘impulse’ of buying on impulse…according to a survey carried out on 18,000 mobile shoppers for Mobile Money Network.

Mobile-payment not a discrete channel  
MMN believe that mobile-payment is not a discrete channel and used properly, it is an enabler to improve sales conversion in all channels. Their ‘Simply-tap’ drives improved sales conversion for retailers by putting an instant mobile checkout anywhere a retailer has a communication with a customer.
Time for retailers to source centralised shopper-information to simplify the checkout process, safely? 
Or will major retailers see an opportunity to gain competitive advantage by simplifying (a la Amazon) their own process by converting all 'attempts-to-purchase' including impulse, while others await the adoption of a common, safe and fast buying-process....?  

Thursday 12 April 2012

Asda adding retailtainment to the shopping basket?

Asda plans to revamp in-store marketing to improve core customer shopping experience, following Asda 'Mumdex' research which looked at how it could support mums and their sometimes over-enthusiastic off-spring.... Momentum, an integrated marketing communications agency have been appointed to enhance Asda’s key commercial trading occasions by creating a programme of retail events to
- engage customers
- ensure the programme delivers a proven commercial return
- strategically align with objectives of Asda’s brand partners
- use their digital and social platforms to promote events to customers.

This raises the issue of the extent to which suppliers and retailers share and optimise consumer insight and shopper insight in programmes that are based upon suppliers' differentiating retailers by shopper-profile, and tailoring trade strategies appropriately.

In other words, folks, in this case, an integrated ‘digital and physical’ opportunity to optimise Asda potential for brands with profiles that are congruent with Asda’s shopper profile…
One to watch, but still a bit to go to match instore theatre in Brazil...

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Unprecedented Treats for Unprecedented Times?

A $200,000 bottle of whisky made to mark the 60th year on the throne of Queen Elizabeth II is on sale in Singapore for a mere S$250,000 ($198,500) a bottle - and it may well find a buyer, (for a buyer?).
No doubt it's a premium sip. Only 60 bottles of Diamond Jubilee were made by the Johnnie Walker unit of Diageo PLC from a blend of whiskies distilled in 1952.
It's also a premium price for Asian aficionados at the month-long Master of Spirits II event featuring specialty wine and liquor put on by luxury travel retailer DFS Group, part of the LVMH empire of high-end goods and services.
Discerning palates, and expats' excessive longing for the old country apart, this differential vs. a spirits’ bogof at Tesco has to be a reflection of the gap  building up in societies everywhere… the issue is whether this gap will continue to increase to breaking point, or whether new governments will take steps to keep the lid on via attempts to return to normal supply and demand in markets everywhere… Either way, time for suppliers to reassess trade strategies and avail of opportunities, ahead of  competitors locked in old patterns…
Incidentally, should any potential expat buyers like to take a first class trip back to the UK and pick it up locally, the same package - the vintage whisky in a crystal decanter with silver trimmings, two crystal glasses and a leather-bound booklet - is priced at 100,000 pounds ($159,100) in Britain.

Monday 2 April 2012

Google's self-driving car for the high-focus NAM?

For those who need high-intensity preparation and in-depth post-rationalisation of encounters with the buyer, perhaps it is time to consider Google’s computer-controlled car as a must-have upgrade?
In the video, Google's self-driving car takes Steve Mahan, who is legally blind, to a Californian Taco Bell to pick up a snack.
Google released the video to celebrate that it has safely completed 200,000 miles of computer-lead driving.
The video shows Mahan sitting in the driver's seat as the car steers itself, using radar and lasers to make sure the road is clear. The car takes him through the drive-through of Taco Bell, then to the dry cleaners, a logical destination, given the trip’s continuous sudden-shock potential…

According to Google, the passenger in a Google car can take control in three ways: via a brake pedal on the passenger side that can stop the vehicle, via an emergency stop button on the centre console that can be reached by anyone in the vehicle, and by means of the laptop the Google representative is seen holding. In all three cases, the car can be stopped, but not remotely controlled except by the driver's steering wheel, he said. No mention was made of the need to reboot fast if the car ‘crashes’ in the fast lane..
And if all else fails, a final option can be a pit-stop at the dry cleaners…
For a comprehensive selection of Google April 1st might-have-beens...

Tuesday 28 February 2012

The death of games retail, a pointer for other 'directable' FMCG categories?

Last year, according to Digital Spy, the UK games industry saw a 7% year-on-year decline in the sales of physical software in 2011, and this slump is said to have deepened by a further 25% this year. Major retailer GAME saw a whopping 90% wiped off its share price last year after a string of troubles, and this week the firm announced plans to close 35 UK stores and shut down
Rise of networked gaming
According to Tiga, 71% of games start-ups launched between 2008 and 2011 in Britain were focused exclusively on networked gaming over digital, mobile, online and social channels, while just 10% intended to work on both network and retail titles. Overall, 67% of the UK games development sector is working either exclusively or in part on network gaming. Tiga quote: "A lot of (games developer) start-ups are focusing entirely on digital distribution and networked gaming. There is only around 20% that are focused on retail, which really shows that the tide has turned quite dramatically in distribution."
Initially driven by the advantage of eliminating ‘packaging’ the developers are obviously seeing financial advantages in going direct…
Application to FMCG
In terms of other non-digital categories, whilst the potential for going direct may not be as great as in gaming, the fact remains that a new generation of consumers are becoming accustomed to dealing direct with suppliers, and the delivery infrastructure is falling in place to facilitate the process cost-effectively.
All that remains is attitude, and perhaps a generation gap, or two…
Action for suppliers
Perhaps the time is now right to reconsider adding a little more facilitation to the firm’s web site, incorporate micro-payments, blend in all of those one-off social-networking initiatives , dust down the ‘consumer-advice’  department and use some of that retail margin to integrate the lot, rather like those ‘amateurs’ in home entertainment that have stumbled upon the most obvious approach to monetising a one-to-one dialogue with some of the most demanding and savvy consumers around..
Or instead, perhaps upping last year’s trade spend might be more effective? 

Monday 27 February 2012

Store of the future: 80:20 towards 20:80 in store-level assortment?

Last week’s article on the IGD-Coca Cola research into the store of the future was the item most passed on to friends and colleagues by NamNews readers.
Key findings:
The report raised a number of issues in terms of the convergence of different trends such as shopper demand for more personalisation, with communication, promotions and deals tailored to their individual values and needs, pre-purchase advice from social media and online forums, in-store use of smartphones and ‘intelligent trolleys’, fully transparent supply chains in  terms of provenance and traceability, and environmental and social impact, with all of this information communicated on-shelf, on-pack and online through smartphones. The report also predicts that online generally will grow in prominence not only because it will continue to grow faster than the consumer goods market as a whole, but it will also form part of the wider store experience with some shoppers purchasing online and picking up in store..
Store-level assortment, the ultimate need
Essentially, we see all of this resulting in increased use of store-level assortment to satisfy savvy consumers unwilling to compromise on demonstrable value-for-money, with important knock-on impacts for suppliers and retailers.
If we assume that large stores currently offer a range comprising say 80% must-stock brands available nationally, and 20% available locally in response to historical demand, this one-size-fits-all approach will become increasingly out-of-step with market need as the above trends develop. 
How retailers will adapt their buying approach
Pragmatic retailers will want to restore the consumer-appeal of their large stores by stocking products more in tune with local need, to avoid shoppers voting with their feet in the search for satisfaction.
Superstores (say sales of £150m p.a., 450 employees with a CEO and organigram to match) will demand more autonomy, becoming increasingly unwilling to simply accept head-office response to a demand demonstrated daily in their stores by live shoppers, speaking with local accents…. They will want to optimise  increased buying expertise at branch level. 
How suppliers will have to re-organise...
In practice this means that suppliers will no longer see national distribution as a prerequisite for success in the launching of new brands, while their focus on existing  brands will concentrate on those parts of the country where brand-appeal is worth the effort. 
Equally, when successful retailers inevitably find ways of devolving increased decision-making power to local level, suppliers will need to extend their influence to branch level or risk being left out of local assortment. This does not mean a return to the days of large scale national salesforces, but rather what is required are small teams of high grade but possibly junior NAMs/KAMs operating at regional/local level, each capable of distilling corporate trade strategies, category management and marketing /promotional initiatives to local level…while their senior NAM colleagues fight for inclusion in the national 20% at retailer's head office...
For those of you taken with the idea, think one KAM business-managing 25 superstores, working 24/7, and work up the numbers…on in-house vs.outsourcing...   
Unless we all change locally in response to new local insight provided by increasingly articulate and demanding consumers, we are bound to sacrifice share to those who are already working in a ‘20:80  assortment’ mind-set, capitalising on local-niche brands, already comfortable with a mere 20% of brands having profitable national distribution

Friday 27 January 2012

Crowdsourcing: tapping the collective want…

Following the impact of our NamNews item: Nestle checking views on Kit Kat flavours (1,265 hits in two days), we felt it might be useful to point you at some useful sources of potential applications
Definitions: Essentially, crowdsourcing is a technique whereby the long tail plays an important part i.e. each member of the crowd submits an insignificant contribution to the total outcome, but the total of these contributions amounts to a considerable difference. (More on definitions)
How it started: The Social Path tells the story of a 1906 country fair at which attendees were invited to guess the weight of a large ox. Hoping for a cash prize, about 800 people made guesses, though no one got it right.
Afterwards, a statistician analysed the written guesses and discovered something shocking: the average of all the guesses was a mere one pound away from the exact weight of the ox. The site also gives some great examples with spooky implications…
Examples: For a comprehensive coverage of examples see Anjali Ramachandran on the following
1. Individual businesses or sites that channel the power of online crowds
2. Brand-sponsored initiatives or forums that depend on crowdsourcing. I've included those that are no longer active as well, for reference.
3. Brand initiatives that allow users to customise their products
4. Brand-sponsored competitions/challenges focussed on crowdsourcing

Curiously, much of the good source material is two years old…an indicator that given its success, perhaps companies are paradoxically now keeping crowdsourcing to themselves?
Have a crowded weekend, from the NamNews Team!

Sunday 22 January 2012

Managing shopper expectations and missing the 'big picture'?

The latest breakthrough 'retro-movie', The Artist, is novel, very entertaining and illustrates perfectly the importance of not forgetting to get the context right as one is swept up in the excitement of producing something really different...
Reports are coming in of audiences in some cinemas demanding refunds because of the small square screen, its use of black & white, and the fact that  'it is silent!!'   Susie W
In other words, never underestimate the consumer's ability to miss the point...

Friday 16 December 2011

My shop sees me….

                                                                                                       Jiro Bevis
Given e-tailers ability to track every mouse-move to help customise sites and maximise the likelihood of a purchase, it was only a matter of time before  bricks-and-mortar stores were able to give shoppers some much needed attention via computer analysis of their instore behaviour via security cameras, even saving surveyed consumers the bother of saying one thing and doing another….
Added to their ability to track mobile phone signals instore, retailers can now use direct feed from a store’s existing security camera system, run it through software which analyses the video and correlates it with sales data. The software can also integrate data from hardware such as RFID chips and motion sensors to track how often a brand of cereal is picked up or how many customers turn left when they enter a store…
Early days, but initial research already appears to indicate that many shoppers pay more attention to centre aisle than end-of-gondola displays..
Some are testing facial-recognition software that can identify shoppers’ gender and approximate age, whilst others are using mobile phone-number analysis to check shopper nationality.  Opportunity for ultra-sensitive in-pocket scanning of credit-cards to tie the data-set together?
Apart from the need to reconfigure store layout, assortment and displays to optimise the insight and pre-empt privacy issues, all that remains is for stores to analyse staff behaviour and try to get them to echo even a small proportion of the attention their technology is giving the shopper…  
Have a cautionary weekend, from the Namnews Team!