Excited yet Conflicted about the Future of Retail

The more I read and hear, the more I wonder where Retail Marketing is going. PRISM hopes to simplify the media aspects of it, while Retailers are also becoming more demanding in Customer Specific concerns as well as now Customer/Shopper specific efforts.

WARNING: This a long one, but worth it for those whose bread is buttered in this arena.

I was reading a fantastically interesting article in the Hub about shopper marketing which got me thinking about the myriad of forces at work on retail marketing. The article written by Chris Hoyt and Gail Peterson of Hoyt and Associates basically outlines the shift by retailers to better shopper segmentation and what in means to anyone selling goods at retail. Check it out here.

The net net is that retailers are now aiming to better serve their shoppers by customizing stores (product selection, layout, etc...). The hope of the more shopper relevant store is, as always increase sales, but also increase loyalty.

"This store understands me" seems to be the general response we are looking for here.

I love this, its smart, makes complete sense, but in everyway complicates what we as an agency are going to be tasked with in the future. Try customer specific programming across a clients top 10 retailers and you can go a little nuts. But now, its going to grow geometrically as each customer specifc program will have 4 - 8 "shopper specific" twists.

Again, I love this, it will only lead to more targeted programming which hopefully means more effective and successful work. I just think we made need a few more folks on the home team.

My conflict comes as I have the pleasure of working with the PRISM folks on the development of that fantastic tool. As stores differentiate further, what does this mean for uniform measurement and planning. I would argue the measurement factor can remain less affected as "eyeballs are eyeballs" in the world of media measurement. An impression in prime time TV is added on top of an impression in Time Magazine and then added again to a Yahoo impression is terms of overall plan delivery.

Yes, the levels of engagement are different, but that's a separate consideration as a part of the planning process. But as far as Neilsen is concern, they are measuring "opportunity to see"; eyeballs are eyeballs. (Its the same song for TV, Print and everything else measured)

So, this leads me to the part which is affected by all this retailer specific mumbo jumbo; planning retail programs. While thanks to PRISM we will know how many people will see our in-store pieces, how to interupt and engage will become a more important artform.
This is very exciting. Encouragement on the part of retailers for more specific programs around the "kind of shopper" that is in a particular store provides an opportunity to start testing the limits of in-store creative. How do we take a once simple promotional tool and update and inspire it to be more. What kind of creaive measurement do we establish to test what works where and for whom? I could tell you my thoughts, but I'd have to charge you.

While its a somewhat confusing time...
unform measurement vs. store specific segmentation,
clean store policies vs. a growing retail media landscape,
Retailer Brands vs. CPG Brands vs. Consumers vs. Shoppers.

...its an exciting time. Its exciting because conversations are being had that weren't had before. Positions, departments and companies are being created to address all the colors of the retail rainbow. Legitimacy is around the corner, if not here already. Now we just need more hands on deck.

Thanks for playing... I'll make my next entry shorter I promise!


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