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Is Retail Creativity a Pitfall or an Opportunity?

Author: WireSpring on 2009-01-27 18:01:45

The Retail Bulletin has a commentary article by Chris Carter, who notes:

The creative interpretation needs to enhance the journey without confusing the consumer with needless creative clutter. Consumer Journey Tracking techniques, where the consumer is observed at a macro (whole shop) or micro (category shop) level helps to deliver the optimum solution; a solution which needs to work at a headline level (Category Enticer) and a detail level (up-sell messaging and simple education prompts to demystify complex product purchases).

From a Retailer perspective the over-riding objective is to maximise return-on-space. How this is achieved will depend upon the role the category plays for that retail chain (e.g. Traffic Builder, Image Enhancer, Profit Generator etc.). The degree of creativity will be assessed against the retailer's policy to in-store attractors, the role the category is playing (a high margin image enhancer category would merit more creative display) and the degree to which creative presentation is proven to drive sell-out.

From a Brand perspective the objective is to demonstrate retail partnership that drives category growth. A sound strategic understanding of your category's consumers, built upon qualitative and quantitative research findings that can inform category presentation, is what Retailers crave. Overlay this data onto the Retailer's own consumer profile and category sell-out history to create a compelling fixture that 1) occupies the right position in-store, 2) attracts attention, 3) presents the most appropriate range and 4) provides compelling and relevant benefit messaging that will deliver results at the checkout.

Our take:

The difficulty lies with achieving some or all of these goals while not breaking the bank, as Carter indicates.  While shopper marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of many retailer and CPG maker marketing mixes, it still controls a relatively small chunk of most companies' budgets. Consequently, these all-important strategies are left to be implemented on a dime.

The second part of Carter's analysis is equally important: while many companies are actually implementing brand- and retail-aware shopper marketing programs, few are going back to analyze the data afterward. Thus, while some studies have shown broad efficacy for the approach, there's no guarantee that any retailer or any brand could implement such a program and have it be profitable.

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CNN ditches the ticker

Author: WireSpring on 2009-01-27 17:54:03

Reported all over the web (a while ago), 37 Signals has a good take on what happened:

Huzzah! The crawl, the unending stream of news at the bottom of the screen, disappeared from CNN last Monday (replaced by a line of static text at the bottom of the screen that is tied to the story on air). Nice breather for viewers and also nice to see CNN competing by underdoing the competition. Earl K. Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, says viewers may think that they can process it all, but they’re fooling themselves: “A lot of times, when you think you’re multi-tasking, you’re just switching your attention between one or two or three things.”

Our take:

WireSpring has advocated the very limited use of tickers on digital signage networks for a long time now, as we have empirically measured just what professor Miller notes above. People don't process the scrolling text effectively, and when they are looking at it, the leave practically no attention resources devoted to the remaineder of the screen, which is usually not what the signage network owners intend.

Let's hope some DOOH networks learn from CNN's practice and start abandoning their scrolling text tickers in favor of signage elements that make sense.

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Shopper marketing's proving it can finally deliver the goods

Author: WireSpring on 2009-01-21 15:37:29

This shouldn't come as news to regular WireSpring readers, but ADWEEK reports that:
While TV's audiences have been fragmented by the addition of hundreds of new channels, retail has been concentrating its consumer base via consolidation. Ten to 15 years ago, the top 10 retail accounts of the typical packaged goods manufacturer represented 20 percent of sales. No more, says Peter Hoyt, executive director for the In-Store Marketing Institute. "Due to consolidation and the rise of megachains," he says, "those top 10 customers now represent as much as 80 percent of sales-more, in many cases."
Our take:

Digital signage, shopper marketing, retail media, package design, merchandising... they're all going to gain huge ground in the coming year or two due to the lack of results that the major media are producing these days. Further, consumers who might be wary of TV commercials may be more likely to look for deals inside the store, since the opportunity to save every last dollar will be high on their priority lists in 2009.

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Deloitte says: Retailers must invest to beat recession

Author: WireSpring on 2009-01-21 11:35:02

Isn't spending too much how we got into this problem in the first place? Well, Deloitte says it might also be the solution -- for retailers, that is:

"This downturn, while difficult, does provide opportunity for retailers to become more competitive and increase market share," Stacy Janiak, U.S. retail leader for Deloitte LLP, told the National Retail Federation's annual conference held in New York.

Janiak said retailers who stay the course and ignore investments in strategic IT programs will not be equipped to lure consumers who are both seeking value and information.

For instance, even as retailers slow their hiring, they can still train workers to provide a better shopping experience, she said.

"Even though you may be reducing your workforce today, you must invest to ensure that those who remain are well-equipped to continue with customer centricity and deliver that desired shopping experience," Janiak said.

Our take:

Our understanding is that retailers will still readily spend money on things -- whether technological or not -- that can help them reduce costs by increasing efficiency.  However, things that are primarily designed to boost sales will be the first to be put on hold when budgets get tightened. Thus, while Deloitte's overall notion that spending should increase might correctly be the best way to help retailers survive, equally important is what they're going to be spending that money on.

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Blogs making a bigger impact at the point of purchase

Author: WireSpring on 2009-01-21 11:14:24

According to this press release from Ketchum and the University of Southern California's Annenberg Strategic PR Center:
Consumers are more frequently basing their buying decisions on information gleaned from shopping Web sites, blogs, and social networking sites. At the same time, local and national television news broadcasts are losing their clout with consumers, the study found.

Not only are people using commercial shopping sites more - the figure has more than doubled since its 2006 study - but they are turning these into places to gather information from peers. Of those who visit shopping sites, 44% said they read consumer reviews and comments posted there, according to the "2008 US Media Myths & Realities" survey.
Our take:

Bloggers of the world unite! As millenials would have told you for the past several years now, nobody makes a big purchase these days without not only doing "high-level" online research like reading manufacturer's web sites and checking prices, but also checking individual reviews for products from big retailers like Amazon.com as well as feedback sites like ePinions.  However, the recent economic slowdown has made this kind of pre-shopping more important for a larger portion of the population too.  Pre-shopping is no longer the domain of the young.  Now, everybody that wants to save a buck or two must do the extra reserarch online, and that now includes reading personal blog reviews, and checking with the wisdom of the masses via social networking sites like Facebook and even Twitter.

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LEGAL STUFF: SignageWire is written by the WireSpring staff but may periodically include articles by guest authors. The author of each article is clearly identified at the start of the article. The opinions expressed in each article are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the official opinions of WireSpring Technologies, Inc. All SignageWire articles are copyright © 2008-2010 WireSpring Technologies, Inc. or the guest author, as appropriate. All content besides the actual article text, e.g. surrounding branding and informational content, is copyright © 2000-2010 WireSpring Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Except as provided in WireSpring's Republishing and Syndication Policy, no SignageWire content may be reproduced, in whole or in part, without WireSpring's express written consent.

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What's this blog about?
Whether you're new to digital signs and kiosks or you've been in the business for years, you've probably noticed that nearly every announcement and press release contains a huge amount of hype. Our goal with this blog is to provide coverage of the more interesting happenings, along with commentary to give you a reality-check on what matters and what's just fluff. We post new articles several times a week.