Is Retail Creativity a Pitfall or an Opportunity?

Published on: 2015-02-05

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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