Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kraft iFood Assistant - doing what CPG brands used to do.

Kraft are impressive.

Packaged goods brands were created at a time when the products were dramatically changing peoples' lives. We're talking about the difference between making soap from fat versus taking it out of the box. The impact that these products and new innovations and line extensions has diminished over time. Now, when Tide launches a portable stain remover it may be convenient but it is hardly driving the liberation that kitchen appliances and related products drove last century.

CPG brands are left on an innovation treadmill - making little impact on the lives of consumers. It is actually retailers who can now have the most dramatic impact.

One exception is sustainability. Here CPG brands can obviously make significant impact.

The other is as a kind of service provider. Digital technology facilitates this. For years now packaged goods have talked about providing "meal solutions" or supporting new mothers with questions on nutrition etc.

Kraft's iFood Assistant - the iphone application is a great example of such a role. Here Kraft provides a service way beyond the products they sell - and way beyond the retailers they serve.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's Different in Toronto

Boxing Day Sales Up! doesn't really fit with the U.S. inspired media narrative. But that's what we get from Toronto Sun: Boxing Day sales hit high note

It's all fairly anecdotal but it's there.

Apart from better confidence Toronto (and other Canadian urban centres) may benefit from cultural diversity and the fact that so many residents are born overseas. Again an anecdote - but what's the point of writing a blog if you cannot expand anecdotes into profound truths - but my hairdresser is headed back to her native Iran with in her words, "half of Zellers in her bag".

Attitudes to consumerism may differ among Toronto's foreign born residents. I have posted before about the declining enthusiasm for consumerism among Canadian general population. But what about the roughly 5% of the Toronto population who arrived from China over the last 20 years? I doubt they are sick of consumerism. Many are just getting a taste for it.

Note to self to dig up Environics data on attitudes to consumption by ethnicity. Let's see...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Digital Shopping

I have been meaning to post on the impact of digital technology on shopping but it is too overwhelming and hard to seperate the reality from the hype.

So let's start with Pogue-o-Matic.

I love this virtual version of the person that you cannot find in the store. Actually most of us tech challenged folks have a real life equivalent. For me, I would ask my brother in law if I was buying any audio visual equipment valued over $100. This fella saves me the call. And I can switch him off when I'm done.

I lost my impulse to buy

Yeah, Leah McLaren said it in the Globe and Mail: How I lost my will to shop.

And she nicely sums up the theories of behavioural economists.

The more they want us to the less we want to. Hey, we used to like that crap until you priced it like it was crap.

Look for many people talking about this in 2009. Maybe shopping is not a natural human state...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wal-Mart Pulls out of PRISM - Updated 30th Jan

I have veered away from the nitty gritty of shopper marketing research on this blog but this is significant news from Shopper Marketing magazine:

P.R.I.S.M. to Roll Out Without Walmart

Shopper Marketing magazine has learned that Walmart, an active member of the P.R.I.S.M. (Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric) industry consortium during both the pilot and scaling phases of the project, will not participate in the launch of the national syndicated data service next year.

According to Nielsen, "Walmart was pleased with the insights they gleaned but has opted out of the syndicated service, consistent with their internal data sharing policies."

This really undermines the credibility of this initiative. Wal-Mart clearly are not keen on their valuable in store space being monetized and lumped in with everyone elses. Somehow, however, I find it hard to shed tears for Nielsen.


More here

A few interesting points:

"It was interesting at first," he said. "But when you poke at it a little more, it gets a little less interesting."

Pretty faint praise. I guess there is a lot of modelling of the data that makes it suspect.

And this:

For its part, Walmart is incorporating its own service to measure shopper-marketing return on investment -- DS-IQ -- into the rollout of its Smart Network, a next-generation in-store TV network to be operated by Thomson's Premier Retail Networks in 2,700 stores on 27,000 screens by early 2010.

Wal-Mart is not a team player.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Rituals for Uncertain Times

I have been looking back at Environics Social Values data during the 1990's when consumer confidence was low to try and see any patterns to predict how consumers behave in economic hard times.

One thing that was noticeable was how an enthusiasm for spontaneity dipped. I guess it makes sense that people are not looking for surprises. They are looking for certainty. And ritual is one means of achieving that.

That is why this Target ad is so good. It not only communicates how Target is planning to help consumers and how hard times may be opportunity to discover something else it talks about creating new rituals.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What is P&G up to?

Two curious pieces of news on P&G:

The first concerns their venture into direct online selling via the website

Then this from the UK. They have just bought a small stake in Ocado - British online grocer.

The press release on the Ocado purchase makes it clear that they are looking for intelligence on online shopping habits. Fair enough. But why? I assume they are exploring alternative channels. Perhaps ones where they can engage consumers directly. Perhaps ones where they don't have to compete with private label brands from the very retailers they rely on to sell their own.

One other interesting but not directly related news is opening of Tide dry cleaners in the US.

I guess you cannot blame P&G for getting restless with modern retail and seeking ways to go directly to the consumer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Not a very good book

I was excited when I saw this book. It has a clever name, a cool cover and a very interesting premise - the application of Neuroscience to purchase behaviour.

It is rather disappointing. If you are looking for anything definitive on the value of Neuroscience to research this does not provide it.

The book promised "a historic meeting between science and marketing" and numerous references are made to the fact that a "three year seven-million dollar neuromarketing study" was conducted. But it doesn't look like they got a lot of value for money.

Some of the insights are interesting. Peoples' brains respond similarly when they see logos of well known brands and religious icons. Is that really enough to justify a chapter drawing conclusions that brand consumption is like a religious activity because it involves similar traits such as ritual behaviour?

There are some interesting things on subliminal messaging but as far as I can see you could get the same insights from survey research.

Having said that, there is a neat piece on the discrepancy between survey responses in how likely people are to watch certain TV shows and how much their brain says they are engaged in the show. I think this is the kind of thing where neuroscience can ad value: Entertainment and communication. But its value is limited when looking at complex emotional attachments to brands etc. because it simply doesn't give us enough information on what is happening in the brain. Yet. May do in the future.

Unless he's holding back on the findings, if Martin Lindstrom believes they are as groundbreaking as he says, he is easily impressed. He certainly seems impressed with himself.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What would Don Draper do?

If confronted with a problem I would strongly recommend spending a few minutes to consider this question. And doing it. Even if it involves a large glass of Canadian Club. In fact, especially then.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The End of Consumerism Part II

In August I posted on the End of consumerism.

How everyone laughed. Well, no one actually laughed. But no one actually read it either.

Environics Social Values data has shown the following in Canada. In 1995 51% of Canadians agreed with the statement "To spend, to buy myself something new is one of my greatest pleasures in life". That has steadily dropped to 37% in 2008.

The recession brings worries but it also seems to bring a real sense that justice is coming and that consumption and choice have become execessive.

The key is how Gen Y behave. The baby boomers have embraced consumerism as one aspect of the choice and freedom they cherished. They no longer need it. Gen Y appear to be less focused on progress through choice of products but on experience.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Neuroscience Thing

Everywhere you turn in market research there's someone talking neuroscience and telling us how surveys blow and you need to read the brain to get the truth.

But when my daughter started her new science project, I knew this thing had done got out of hand.

What will happen?

Everyone is asking that, eh? And no one knows. I am preparing a presentation on changing Canadian shopper behaviour in economic hard times and am looking back to the last recession in 1990 to see what Canadians did. But so much has changed since then it is hard to call.

A couple of things are coming up - "health & wellness" will stay a consumer motive - because it is driven by demographics. Green consumerism ... not so sure. Partly because some of the data I have been looking at make it apparent that currently a lot of it is more consumerism than green.

So much of what is happening in the States ...the shift to private labels and general merchandise for grocery shopping is not relevant here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

How Canadians Shop

How Canadians Shop
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: shopper behaviour)

A presentation I recently gave to the Market Research and Intelligence Association Toronto Chapter

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Sometimes you read some writing on a piece of research that is so awful that you want to give in.

This is such a piece:

Meanwhile, the percentages of consumers who indicated that they consider "brand name" among the factors they consider when buying food were eye-opening: U.S., 35%; UK, 24%; Germany, 16%; Argentina, 45% and China, 45% (for an average of 33%).

While this doesn't mean that brands play no role in purchasing decisions, it's clear that for growing numbers of consumers throughout the world, brand names lag well behind not only taste, quality, price and health benefits, but factors such as perceived value and convenience of preparation, according to Eatherton.

Wow. That's amazing, eh? Consumers do not line up to tell researchers that brands influence their decisions. And "taste" and "quality" are more important! What next? Consumers telling us that they are not influenced by advertising? How eye opening.

Let's abandon all communication on brand benefits. Unless of course ......wait a minute....maybe the benefits that the brand communicates are "taste" ..."quality"...."convenience" ....

Monday, October 20, 2008

This makes me dizzy

I am just getting used to the idea of dynamic, digital advertising in stores and now ....this. Technology "that could eventually bring low-cost streaming video to printed displays, packaging, direct mail or magazine inserts".

Amazing. I guess stores are on the verge of getting very entertaining ...or irritating.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Male Shoppers and Social Values

I recently presented some of our shopper research to a meeting of international colleagues at an Iris network conference and was showing the share of grocery trips taken by gender.

In Canada, we estimate that 39% of all trips (including personal care, quick trips etc.) are made by males shopping alone. My colleagues from Netherlands and Germany expressed surprise and assumed that these numbers would be different in their markets.

It was only our Australian colleague who suggested it would be similar in Australia. Canada and Australia and similar in many respects (although it is slightly colder here). But two facts would drive this in my opinion - both are highly urbanized (hence a higher incidence of quick trips) and both are fairly "progressive" in terms of social values. We often contrast with the relatively low % agreement with the statement that "the man is always head of the household" in Canada with that in the US. This could certainly impact shopping styles ...will investigate this further.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dynamic vs. Static Consumer Insights

I just returned from the ESOMAR world congress in Montreal. The content was not very exciting but one theme I picked up - which is evident in a lot of talk and thinking around research these days is the notion of movement, change, transformation. I think a lot of criticism of research is that it does not capture the dynamic aspect of consumer behaviour. Why? Because it's hard. It is easy to ask consumers what they think but hard to track what they do - and how that changes.

But clients see current "static" consumer segmentations as too simple and not providing the insight they need to meet consumer needs that are often very dynamic.

Shopper research in particular needs to capture this dynamism as often we are researching and trying to understand the process rather than the person. As Steve Phillips from Spring Research says - it's not about why but about how. How is the decision made.

Aside from the difficulty of capturing the process, it is also hard for marketers to understand it. They are used to acting on static consumer typologies etc.

Environics Consumer Insights' The Mental World of the Shopper segments shopping trips by a combination of demographics (male 25 to 34), context (alone) and mission (quick trip to get ingredients). We are going to be looking a lot closer at how to best capture and communicate this dynamic aspect of the consumer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

US Retailer Communication Strategies in The Recession

I have avoided writing about consumer response to the recession because there is so much data out there and much of it is useless or simply common sense.

One that that I think is interesting though is the changing trip types. I think this is the key to understanding consumer changes. And I note that Wal~Mart is focusing on this in its new US commercials. These are clearly encouraging shoppers to combine trips - and in particular the grocery trips.

Target take another approach but also tap into a clear consumer trend - staying in. They are advertising DVD players for "the new date night" and hair clippers for the "new hair cut" etc.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Eating out" channel blurring

There is a lot of talk at the moment in the US about consumers buying "ready to eat" via grocery and convenience store as a cheaper substitute for eating out.

Currently this is presented as a simple economic phenomenon. But I also think there are cultural shifts in the way we see "eating out". Firstly, it is certainly not the "treat" it used to be. It has become so prevalent that it is routine for many families. Eating in is the treat! The changing experience is leading to a kid of channel blurring - where the line between "out", "take out" and "home prepared" is blurring. I think this change is occurring in the context of some significant changes in the way people see food. Retailers are playing a large role in this.....lots more to say on that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Men be Shopping

Quite a lot of them in Canada actually. And they like it. New research sponsored by MasterCard confirms and expands on this. You can download a summary of the report from their website. (Full disclosure: Environics did the research).

Interesting stuff. And it confirms what I always thought. It's not that men don't like shopping. They just don't like shopping for other people.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Step Closer to Minority Report

Interactive advertising in stores using RFID that respond to what the shopper is buying being us a little closer to the memorable scenes in Minority Report where the ads change after scanning Tom Cruise's retina.

Not long before we get "shoppers who bought x also bought y" in the store....

The End of Consumerism

Well, I know that is a dramatic overstatement. But this is a blog....

What I think we can see however is something of a shift in values in the West. We always do in a recession. These are usually fairly superficial and would hardly constitute a challenge to consumerism as an ideology. Since the second world war it has become assumed that consumerism is some kind of natural state and that the best organized societies are those that place consumer satisfaction at the centre of all their major institutions.

This is already being challenged by the climate crisis and concern for the environment. A global recession and credit crunch will contribute to that challenge. We already see signs such as the "simplicity movement".

But the key here is demographics. The baby boomers undermined many social institutions and ideologies. But they championed consumerism with its emphasis on individualism and choice. They are being forced to reject it as they age and their income shrinks and of course they will eventually start dying. What we will see is how the millenials' values will be shaped by the coming austerity. That could be the key to a significant shift in Western social values.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Shopper Insights Research: The Good and the Really Rather Bad

First the good stuff: OgilvyAction have conducted a comprehensive study on in store decision making. They clearly have some good insights from this. It is being pitched as refuting the now urban legend "70% of decisions are made at point of sale" claim that came from the 1995 POPAI study done by Meyers Research.

Actually it doesn't refute it at all. It says that 72% of decisions are made at the point of sale. It simply cuts that figure a little finer - breaking it into brand switching, brand decisions, category impulse purchase etc. This clearly makes sense. The 70% figure was always very woolly. You could argue that 100% of decisions are made at point of sale. The other point that the OglivyAction research makes is that it varies by category. Another rather obvious point that needed making.

And this research was done Old Skool. They asked people what they intended to buy when they went in and asked them what they bought when they went out. No broken beams, RFID and video-mining. Nice.

Now the bad stuff: TNS did a survey in Canada and asked people how important a bunch of things were when they bought products - including price and corporate reputation. And guess what? Corporate reputation is nearly as important as price! Wow! I guess that explains why Wal-Mart is so unsuccessful and why Fair Trade and sustainable products have such huge market share in Canada. C'mon guys - this is the kind of stuff that gives market research a reputation for being ...well....useless.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Nielsen, Mindset Media Bundle Psychographic Data Into Homescan Panel

Interesting stuff here from Nielsen linking psychographic profiles to Homescan panel data in the US.

Note the faint praise from the digital media fella. They need more guidance than this. But he is right that it will give creative insights and could be useful for in-store - if the segments that Mindset Media have created can be tied to shopper experience needs....which I am sure they can.

I have to say that as someone who was raised with a distaste for Nielsen's monopolistic arrogance and lack of innovation, they seem to be doing a lot of new things ....

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tangou - Social Shopping

You may have read about Tangou - like minded individuals combining to specifically collectively haggle for an item. Popular in China where haggling and collectivism are both salient.

Similar thing with carrotmob - who seek to combine individuals to reward companies and stores that are green - even liquor stores. Good video example here.

Both examples of social shopping using technology to facilitate grouping of people for a specific purpose.

The TNS survey cited earlier indicated that Canadians are more open to this than shoppers in other countries ...although little sign of it here so far.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Distracted and Depressed Shoppers

Some time back it was recently discovered that depressed shoppers buy more - as they tend to try to create a sense of self through purchases and fire up with dopamine.

Now a new study implies that distraction can lead to less cognitively processed purchase decision - hence greater propensity brand switching.

The point on depression is not that retailers should depress their shoppers....simply that they need to provide enjoyment. Distraction is hardly a surprise. The intention of shopper marketing is to distract and interrupt habitual purchase.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Most Interesting Thing About Canadian Shoppers

After 5 years in Canada I have adopted the national pastime of focusing my attention on the nuanced differences between Americans and Canadians.

And that is why when I read TNS' New Future in Store report I couldn't help myself getting excited not only by the fact that Canada is shown as a data point (quite a self esteem boost) but it shows that we are different from American shoppers ...

Beauty, eh?

The first thing is that Canadians seem generally more open to innovation retail than Americans. Americans consumers are notoriously conservative in their attitudes to retail - partly due to lack of retail consolidation in its past - and technology.

But the most interesting trend and the most interesting cross border North American difference is the appeal of group buying (using the Internet as a tool). Shopping has always been social and the Internet is already facilitating that in a number of categories. Could it be that Canada's collectivist social and political culture is manifesting itself here? Look who else is high up on the trend - China, Japan and France....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Drivers of Changing Trip Types

According to Stuart Rose of Marks & Spencer in the UK "People's purses are being squeezed," he said. "A seismic shift [in shopping habits] is going on."

He blames very poor performance of M&S on not only economic factors but specifically fuel prices and that people are shopping locally rather than at out-of-town shopping centres to avoid using gas.

I am not sure how this will net out but we should expect to see a shift in trip types driven by a myriad of factors - including fuel prices.

Although I am not sure of the impact in Canada of fuel prices on shopping habits. The average distance driven for a stock up trip is 7km in total. That would cost about $3 in gas - an increase from $2 prior to the increase in prices. I am not sure if people are that sensitive to gas prices - unless of course the motivation is emotional and the simple act of driving causes pain.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Your Brain on Shopping

Application of neuroscience to marketing has been focused on advertising and media and less on shopping.

There is an obvious limitation due to the relative lack of portability of equipment required to monitor brain activity and other physiological reaction.

This video shows Dr. David Lewis from Mindlab demonstrating the use of EEG equipment to assess consumer reaction in store.

The current trouble is that EEG and other portable equipment only gives a very limited read on brain activity. Peaks when we see bright colours isn't that insightful. No doubt the technology will improve.

I guess it is possible that one day researchers will be able to see the kind of activity that fMRI allows (e.g. activation and deactivation of the insula and the medial prefrontal cortex assocatied with purchase decisions) while a consumer shops. That will obviously provide almost scary insights.

Good post on the neuroscience of purchasing here.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mobile Web Based Social Shopping Tool

Can I get more marketing buzzwords in my title? Maybe I should add 'experience' and 'network'.

This is a new tool that allows shoppers to connect via a mobile web site provided by

According to the article "The mobile version of the service allows people to use a cellphone's browser to access information at Shoppers can read reviews by typing in a product's name or product code into a search field. A user who created a shopping list online can leave the paper list at home and pull up the electronic version".

This is one of those things that will probably morph into something else as it evolves. The social element is interesting. They talk about diet / nutrition needs. Seems like something of a niche - although it could be popular among those aging and picky boomers who might actually have time to do this.

I suspect it may end up being about price. As food prices rise and the economy worsens I can imagine a means of checking online flyers for competitive stores while shopping would be popular. "I'll wait and get my coffee when I go to price Chopper because they have it at $4.97" (they do...I just checked online)

More on social shopping here ....from UK company Kaboodle whose founder Manish Chandra says:

"Shopping is an inherently social activity, where discovery, input, recommendations and purchasing are all part of the normal shopping process. Our goal in creating Kaboodle’s online shopping community was not only to give our members the tools to emulate the offline shopping experience online, but to also leverage the power of the online experience."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Less is More at Point of Sale

Nielsen Media Research just did a study that found shorter (10 and 15 seconds) ads are more 'effective' than longer (30 seconds) at gas pumps in the US.

Okay, their measure of effectiveness is simply recall - which may or may not be a good one - but it seems intuitively correct. We probably shouldn't be thinking in terms of 15 vs. 30 second at all when it comes to out of home advertising. But TV is where all the parameters have been created for measurement of effectiveness.

I am sure that processing ads at gas pumps is different to processing ads at home in the context of entertainment. A less linear narrative and more visual branding elements are probably more appropriate - somewhere between billboards and TV commercials. We have a long way to go to better understand the effectiveness of different executions in different out of home contexts.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Get em while they are ...conflicted?

This news story about in-store prescription drug advertising in a store in New Jersey is interesting. Firstly, it's rare to see in store advertising for a product that you cannot buy in the store. In this case you need to "Ask to your doctor if Vytorin is right for you". But why not? We keep saying in store advertising is strategic as well as tactical.

But more interesting is this statement from Schering-Plough: "Since supermarkets are where people routinely make choices about which food to buy, we believe this was a good place to engage consumers with education on high cholesterol". Hmmm. I wonder what impact "education on high cholesterol" has on their food choices. I would love to see how sales of chips have been recently. But I like the idea. The possibilities are endless. We could see Advil ads at the Beer Store. The most radical application would be communication from World Vision or anti-hunger activists in the cookie or snack aisles. Not sure how many retailers would go for that though.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Very Canadian Piece of Advertising

There is quite a bit of talk about the Shreddies "Diamond" campaign. It may have won some award (who apart from those in advertising keep track of those?).

I have to say there is something very Canadian about it. As a transplanted Brit in Canada I cannot help observing the national character. Humour is a great Canadian export. But compared to the British bitter sarcasm and almost pathological need to mock the powerful Canadian humour is relatively gentle ...yet still subversive.

That is why I think this campaign fits the national character. It mocks and deflates the pretensions of marketing and advertising but in quite a gentle and flippant way. I especially appreciate the mockery of qualitative research in the video....rainbow scale.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Green Agreement for IRI and TNS

This is a very interesting initiative and should yield a lot of good insight into how 'green consumers' behave.

Most importantly for researchers it should also validate the TNS consumer segments (which are based on attitude and claimed behaviour). This will show whether those who talk green and say that they are buying green are actually doing it.

We are swimming in data about 'green consumers' but none of it really addresses the behaviour gap between action and sentiment. And there is a big gap.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Shopper Insights Research is Good Research

One of the things that appeals to me about researching shopper behaviour or shopper insights is that it necessitates that researchers do things that we should probably do in most of our research.

There is so much discussion about how research into branding and communication is relying way too much on cognitively processed responses and is missing the subtle, low involvement processing and emotions that actually motivate behaviour.

And of course those who have relied on those cognitively processed responses for years (and have large and valuable normative databases of them) are saying they are still valid.

That debate doesn’t even get started with shopper research. We know the decisions are based on “thin slice judgments”. We know that much decision-making is not cognitively processed and often does not even reach our consciousness. We know that 80% of the media in store is not even seen let alone engaged with.

Once that has been accepted we can approach researching the subject based on observation, transactional data and methods that avoid cognitively processed and rationalized responses based on respondent recall. These are good things.

Researchers have avoided the mechanics of the consumer decision for years because it is well, hard. We will evaluate a brand or communication piece and then add the caveat that we don’t know how it will actually play in the market because of er….”market factors”. This has undermined the value of research. Shopper insights research forces us to face up to those “market factors” and really try to understand how the purchase decision is made. This is genuinely new territory and ultimately will increase the value of market research.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The tragic world of Canadian marketing ...

***FLASH*** - No Canadian wins in Direct or Promo Lions

I thought this headline was some kind of joke. But it's not. Sometimes it is depressing working in Canada.

I wonder what else "no Canadian" has done today ....

Monday, June 16, 2008

Shopper Marketing Talkfest: Provide Your Feedback on a Shopper Insights Community

Usually I disapprove of people conducting DIY surveys without paying me or my colleagues large fees for our expertise but in this case I can forgive. Shopper Marketing Talkfest is collecting opinions of those interested in shopper insights:

Shopper Marketing Talkfest: Provide Your Feedback on a Shopper Insights Community

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Shopper Metrics

As the retail channel becomes more considered as a communication channel the need for metrics to measure its effectiveness increases. Brand marketing people like measurement and they want to see the same kind of measures that are available for other media.

Two different initiatives are being developed to deliver this:

MARI (Marketing At Retail Initiative) is being developed by Sheridan Global in conjunction with POPAI. Sheridan Global provide the technology and analysis for what they have described as a large scale syndicated qualitative piece. The focus of this is on shopper engagement. How much do shoppers see the marketing material in the store and most significantly how much do they pay attention to it and ultimately buy the product?

This initiative really focuses on the success of different in-store executions in engaging shoppers. Consider it the Millward Brown equivalent for in store.

MARI has been initiated in a few markets including US and UK. A good white paper on it is here:

P.R.I.S.M. (Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric) is being developed by Nielsen in conjunction with the In Store Marketing Institute. This is much more focused on providing a media metric and involves a lot more robust traffic counting within stores. So far work has only been done in the US. This aims to provide measurement for instore media. Consider it the in store equivalent of Nielsen ratings.

A good presentation providing an introduction and analysis of early results is here:

And a good evaluation of the impact of PRISM here from Shopper Culture:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"Shopper Enjoyment"

Well, it was fairly easy setting this thing up.

My first content ....

We have just completed a piece of research on Canadian grocery shoppers that shows that ....wait for it....people actually really enjoy grocery shopping. Most people. Including men (who actually do a lot more shopping than you might suspect)....

I recently spoke to some experts in retail and shopper understanding who found the concept of "shopper enjoyment" ridiculous. I guess we do not hear much about "TV enjoyment" or "movie enjoyment". Firstly it's a given that TV and movies are "enjoyed" and secondly the idea of these media as monoliths is silly. Some TV is enjoyed and some is not. Some shopping is enjoyed. Some is not. Some aspects of watching TV are enjoyed. Others are not. The same is true for shopping.

The fact that people enjoy grocery shopping may not be groundbreaking news but it is something I think needs to be stated as it provides a necessary framework to the notion of the retail channel as a media channel. That notion has become increasingly popular recently as marketers desperately seek some space in which they can speak to consumers. The mindset of the shopper has often been viewed as rational, harassed and well, focused on getting the heck out of the store. The fact that the shopper is actually engaged in a form of entertainment should at least inform the kind of communication that is effective in this channel.