By Chris Carter, Director of Shopper Marketing, SMP
Developments in the retail space have led to remarkable new creative solutions which make the shopping experience informative, interactive, logical and above all, enjoyable. With up to 70% of brand purchase decisions taking place in-store - and further research indicating that 25% of shoppers are buying items they haven’t initially planned to purchase - the advantage of effective ‘stand-out’ is clear to see.
However, achieving an optimal in-store environment requires satisfaction by all the stakeholders involved: the Consumer, the Retailer and the Brand.
The underlying foundation to an ideal retail environment is a clear understanding of how the consumer wants to ‘shop the category’. Understanding the consumer journey and the broader context of their purchase helps to create a logical approach.
For example, if a Consumer is looking to purchase a television a step-by-step approach that helps them to understand 1) the technologies available, 2) the placement solutions, 3) accessories and peripherals, 4) warranties and 5) payment methods laid out as a clear facilitated journey on the shop-floor provides an opportunity to delight consumers and optimise basket-spend.
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.
In tier one retail stores with high footfall and visibility opportunities (e.g. Heathrow T5) fixtures may warrant a significant investment to create a high impact showcase. But creative solutions do not need to break the bank.
A complementary creative proposition can be rolled out across a retailer’s broader store portfolio using simple magnetic fixture cladding to create a consumer experience.
The key is to develop an investment matrix based on assessment of the retailer’s store portfolio against pre-determined criteria. This should include existing sell-out data, forecast sell-out data (i.e. what can that store and its catchment deliver?) store profile, catchment area consumer profile, footfall and placement opportunities.
Cross-reference these with the role in-store plays for the brand; is it a product bought ‘at the fixture’ or a pre-determined brand purchase decision made out-of-store; does the category lack excitement; will excitement entice purchase etc? With this you have the basis for some informed decision making. A pilot measured against control stores would then help you to determine the success of your creative solution and the appropriateness for a broader roll-out.
Couple a creative fixture solution with a complementary pack design that embodies the core values of the brand / product whilst delivering all the necessary information to inform the consumer and assist the purchase. In this way brands can optimise all touch points to ensure that every ‘base is covered’ and deliver a truly compelling brand experience.
So… retail creativity; pitfall or opportunity? The choice is yours. Without doing your homework the pitfalls can be many and varied. Get it right and the opportunity to harness the power of creativity to enhance the shopping experience is huge - and the results will show on your bottom-line.
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