Charlotte is director of Retail and Shopper at leading independent full-service marketing agency Haygarth. Charlotte has over 10 years of experience working across pure retail clients as well as...
Today’s shopper journey has become fragmented. The rise of online has seen a change in shopper behaviour and many traditional retailers have been slow to adapt to this new consumer. Where shoppers could once be found traipsing up and down the UK’s high streets, ready to be herded in to Woolworths or Virgin Megastore with the promise of discounted CDs or 3for2 offers on stationary, today’s consumer is no longer confined to these boundaries. The ability to shop away from the traditional bricks and mortar retail space has empowered the consumer and this means they are no longer as susceptible to traditional footfall, sales and loyalty driving promotions.
Shoppers no longer expect to be viewed as a homogenised purchasing populace – they expect to be recognised as individuals, each with their own behaviours and influences. They have become desensitised to the ubiquitous brand or seasonally-led promotions and, as such, demand a far greater level of relevance in order to make them engage. In short, promotions have become static and one-dimensional in a world which is fluid and immediate.
Consumers are looking for brands that connect in a way that offers real value to their lives. This requires a level of understanding not only of the consumer’s purchase motivations but also of how and when they are most open to these messages.
Promotional campaigns need to go further than purely illustrating the benefit to the consumer; they must also explain why it’s relevant to their lives. Traditional techniques can be applied but these must be framed in such a way as to show the inherent emotional value within that promotion. For example, last year Haygarth created a celebrity lifestyle campaign for Rachel’s Dairy that supported the brand’s first ever TV spot. The ‘Rachel’s Moments’ campaign rewarded customers with lifestyle tips from top celebrities and prizes directly related to their lifestyle interests.
In this way, well thought out promotional schemes can be used to start conversations with consumers which can be continued across a number of touch points and over an extended time period to create a long-term relationship, giving customers reasons to keep coming back for more.
Consumer-centric communication has been an industry buzzword for years but we need to go further than this. Only by understanding the consumer and the role that retailers (and the brands within them) play in their life can we truly offer differentiation to the customer experience in today’s market.
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