Sunday, October 4, 2009

Maximizing Profits through Shopper Insights in Convenience

This is the presentation I recently gave to the Canadian Snack Food Association - with a the juicy bits cut out.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Stretching “Experiential” Brands

I’m baaaack.

Have been a tad busy wrestling with Convenience Shopper Canada which is now the definitive study of convenience shopping in Canada.

In the meantime, Starbucks launched instant coffee. Does anyone know why? I am not sure.

But whatever the reason I guess they thought that their brand was strong enough and could certainly stretch into that category. Despite their recent troubles there is no doubt Starbucks is a strong brand in terms of consumer equity. And you would think it would be no problem to stretch it into so relevant a category.

But I think they face a challenge.

The reason is that the Starbucks brand is firmly rooted in the in store experience. Fine. That has been their strategy. But that position limits their ability to stretch it in the way that a packaged goods brand or even another retail brand can stretch. If they were they would need to leverage the positive associations with the in store experience as these are the strengths of the brand. The instant product does nothing of the sort as far as I can see.

It made me wonder whether as brands become more rooted in their design or experience and move to a "post brand image” world they become more limited.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Do One Thing Really Really Well

"Do One Thing Really Really Well" is the slogan of Ontario's Steamwhistle Brewery

It is one of the keys to brand authenticity (not the only one and not always the main one).

I guess these guys (above) are not trying that approach.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wal-Mart In Store Media and PRISM

I believe that this is one of the reasons Wal-Mart pulled out of PRISM

This isn't shopper marketing. It's a powerful retailer grabbing money from its suppliers. Their intention is not brand building.

At a recent meeting a marketing director of one of our packaged goods clients told me "I have never met a retailer that was interested in building brands".

Maybe he's right. In which case can shopper marketing exist beyond the retailer? What is it?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Future of Retail is not about the Stuff

What happens to non big-box retailers in the wake of the advance of the big box?

What is their reason to exist?

Obviously competing on price or product range is not going to cut it.

Well, PetSmart probably have one answer: Expertise and Services.

There is a specialist cycle shop near me that has a comparison chart on the wall showing the price of a bike at a big box store (about 20% less than their price) but below that we see a list of things (fitting it to the rider, tuning the bike etc.) listed as “free” for their offering but with a price attached for the big box. And the result is of course their offering is cheaper. Judging by the crowds at that store it is persuasive. The value of buying some someone who knows, who you trust, who you can chat with and who supports your choice is common across categories: video games, clothing, food. The services are an extension and support for that value.

Additional to that is the emotional pleasure of buying from someone who is passionate about the same thing you are. And people are certainly passionate about pets.

Good luck PetSmart.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Synovate Aztec + Safeway + Canada

Why are so many people from AC Nielsen entering these words into Google these days?

Canadian Shopper Behaviour and The Recession

In the words of The Onion's Jim Anchower, it's been a while since I rapped at ya. I have been too busy reports from with Convenience Shopper Canada and World of the Shopper.

The later gives us some insight into changing shopper behaviour in the recession. As I mentioned below, Canadians are far less likely to have changed behaviour than Americans. We certainly are not seeing dramatic channel shifts.

We do see some changes though.

Primarily we are seeing a change in the “stock up trip”. It has increased in value primarily due to increased spending per trip (which has not occurred for quick trips). The triggers are now more likely to be a combination of non-perishables and perishables. There is also increased pre-planning and checking flyers prior to the visit.

Final interesting thing - a decline of the male quick trip. As households pre-plan and consolidate their trips that last minute ingredients grab drops