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Omni-Channel Shopping Means Retailers Must Move Faster Than Ever

BY CSA STAFF

By Rodney Mason, CMO, parago

Today, consumers have more information sources to help them make purchasing decisions. Smartphones, tablets, social media and the Internet — combined with traditional shopping channels like magazines and direct mail — means that deal-finding and comparison-shopping methods are almost always at consumers’ fingertips. As a result, shoppers are making their purchases faster.

While the shopping pace increases, many retailers are struggling to keep up with the demand for new marketing, promotional and pricing strategies. But the message is clear: omni-channel shopping means retailers must dynamically disrupt the path to purchase — or risk getting left behind.

At parago, we conducted shopper research during the 2013 peak holiday shopping season and identified a number of emerging omni-channel, path-to-purchase shopping trends for the year ahead. These results are important for all retailers as they plan for back to school and beyond.

Our research shows that consumers no longer spend weeks or months planning purchasing decisions, even with higher-priced items like home appliances. Instead, the average time to purchase is just three days. That’s less than a week to convince a customer that your store is the best place to buy.

Interestingly, even with this shorter path to purchase, deal-finding activities are increasing. Some 65% of shoppers report being more sensitive to price now than they were a year ago. Plus, 88% of consumers look for deals, rebates and best prices before they even walk out the door. Consumers appreciate the savvy feeling of knowing they’ve found the best price simply by doing what they consider to be basic Internet research.

In addition to deal seeking online, showrooming continues to be a threat. Four out of five 18- to 49-year-olds own smartphones, and nearly 50% of all shoppers compare price in-store using smartphones. Even if a retailer uses smart marketing and promotional techniques to get a consumer to walk through the door, this potential customer may walk out empty-handed and choose to purchase elsewhere for a lower price.

Today’s consumer is dynamic and moves quickly, so retailers must also use sophisticated pricing techniques. Best-in-market prices can disrupt the path to purchase for consumers in the middle of the research process.

The majority of shoppers would stop their searches and purchase immediately if offered a dynamic-price rebate. These rebates respond to consumers’ demands for lowest prices while protecting retailers’ margins for retailers.

In an era of omni-channel shopping, retailers have a smaller window to capture consumers and convert sales with a compelling value proposition. Retailers must think like their consumers — busy, demanding deals, always connected, savvy — to develop compelling strategies for engaging this evolving shopper behavior.

Rodney Mason is CMO of parago, a global thought leader and incentives and engagement provider that delivers billions in rewards to millions of people for leading brands around the world. Follow him on
Twitter or send him an email. For a free copy of the report, “Need for Speed, Disrupting The Omni-channel,” go to bit.ly/1jvOngU.


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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Study: Millennials show brand loyalty

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Despite their reputation as being jaded by branding efforts, a majority of Millennials consider themselves brand-loyal. According to a new survey of Millennial consumers from marketing data provider Adroit Digital, 64% of Millennials are more brand-loyal or as brand-loyal as their parents, with 24% considering themselves to be more brand-loyal than their parents.

However, 77% of the Millennials surveyed said they are evaluating brands on a different set of criteria than their parents. For example, 55% of young shoppers said that a recommendation from a friend is one of the strongest influencers in getting them to try a new brand. Forty-seven percent consider brand reputation to be almost as important. Product quality ranks fourth at 35%, but price still comes in first at 62%.

Other notable findings include:

• 60% of Millennials said that social advertising has the most influence over them in how they perceive a brand and a brand’s value. This compares with TV at 70%. Traditional media outside of TV has little influence with Millennials. In the realm of influence, radio, billboards and magazines finished last.

• 26% of millennial respondents said social is the most likely channel to introduce a new product they will consider for trial. Only TV, at a very small margin of +3%, outranks social.

• 36% of Millennials believe digital advertising is the most effective method of influencing their brand decisions, with traditional advertising as a standalone showing markedly less influence at 19%.

• 52% of Millennials want brands that are willing to change based on consumer opinion and feedback to maintain future relevance. 44% want to have open dialogue with brands through social channels, and 38% want brands to be more about the consumer and less about the brand.

• 38% of Millennials will switch brands if a company is found to have bad business practice Outside of financial factors, a business found to have bad business practices is the number one reason that Millennials will switch brands. This carries the same weight as a recommendation from a friend, at 38%.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Tensator’s ‘virtual’ goddess dazzles U.K. shoppers

BY Marianne Wilson

Bay Shore, N.Y. — Clarins Fragrance Group has deployed a 6-ft.-high digital projection in three store locations in the United Kingdom to help celebrate the launch of designer’ Thierry Mugler’s new Alien Extraordinaire perfume. The projection, the “Virtual Assistant” from Tensator, features the image of the goddess character used across all launch-branding material.

The unit, currently on display in the House of Fraser, Manchester; Selfridges, Trafford Centre, Manchester, and Metro Centre in Newcastle, was created especially for Clarins Fragrance Group. It is the first full-height projection example of the Tensator technology.

With her shimmering dress and glowing outline, the virtual character creates a mesmerizing image that attracts shoppers. It is designed to represent how the Alien fragrance can make users feel; powerful, luminescent and sparkling, according to Clarins.

“Creating a seamless projected stature, 6 ft.-high with arms outstretched, was very tricky,” said Ajay Joshi, Tensator’s head of media and technology. “We had to work quickly and efficiently to overcome the physical constraints and to explore the various technical solutions available to best fit the requirements. We are very pleased with the result. The virtual goddess has an amazing presence and aligns to the vision we all shared when we started the journey.”

It is expected that the Tensator digital installation will tour Thierry Mugler flagship locations.

“It was great to achieve our own ‘virtual goddess’ for the Alien Eau Extraordinaire fragrance launch,” said Vicky Barret, design and merchandising manager at Clarins Fragrance Group. “It is vital for our brand, for us to be creative innovators and as this was the first time a head-to-toe projection has been executed in retail design, I’m proud of the result we achieved.”

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