Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Retail Marketers: 3 Strategies to Thrive in the New Shopper Environment

As a retail marketer, one of the biggest challenges you can face is the change in shopper attitudes and behavior with the advancement of digital, mobile and sensor-related technology. As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program with a keen interest in retail and shopper marketing, I have found the following two views on the potential effects of technology-driven Amazon Go on the retail industry.

In the Forbes article, Phil Lempert identifies the reasons why Amazon Go is revolutionizing the retail industry. He highlights Amazon’s simple and straightforward communication skills, their use of advanced technology and smart food marketing. Amazon Go has removed the need for checkout lines, creating a new experience where shoppers can “just walk out.”  Because of their ability to seamlessly merge technology into their retail stores and to know their consumers, Amazon Go could be seen as the future of food retailing.

Source: The Drum

On the other hand, Lisa Lacy of The Drum argues that this form of seamless shopping has been around for a while and that other retailers such as Starbucks and Apple also offer similar experiences. Furthermore, Amazon Go doesn’t completely remove all of the customer pain points and “won’t be dramatically moving the industry.” They still need to consider consumer privacy and in-store engagement. Ultimately, it is important for retailers to think differently when connecting with consumers and to reduce their pain points while shopping.

Based on my review of these two articles and relevant studies I have done in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I have developed the following 3 action items to consider when preparing for the future of retail marketing:
  • Integrate Omni-channel Retailing - With the rise of mobile technology, combine all of your retail channels to provide a holistic experience for your consumers.
  • Incorporate Advanced Technology - Incorporating digital technology like computer vision, algorithm, sensors and machine learning into store can create a seamless shopping experience when done correctly.
  • Enhance Consumer Experiences - Anticipate what your customers want and solve their problems before they are even encountered. 

As you develop your retail strategies, think about how to best understand what your shoppers need and know how to best deliver it in order to thrive in a new shopper environment.

Tasmina Chhugani is currently a graduate student studying Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University’s Medill School.

With over 6 years of international experience in branding in the CPG industry, I wish to pursue my interest in retail, brand and shopper marketing when I graduate in December 2017.

Feel free to connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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