Some days ago, there was an article in agencyfaqs by the CEO of MASH, the new shopper marketing division of Sam Balsara's Madison!
I can understand that the article was his way of PRing the new entity, but the hard-sell on the 'shopper' as being a totally new animal was a bit difficult to stomach!
The trouble with American style retail science is that it heavily jargonises common sense and is largely scientification of the obvious...And the MASH CEO appears to be a sucker for it!
My rant on some of the points raised in the article:
1. With the growth in organised retails, there has been a shift from 'consumption' to 'purchase'.
Frankly, I don't know what he meant by this...At any point of time, all of us desire some stuff, buy many stuff, consume the stuff that can be consumed, shop for self and others. It's just that the pace, the place and the range and array of brands available have changed dramatically in the last few years!
And more new categories are now becoming impulse categories.But that's about it!
2. We need to figure out if the 'shopper' is shopping for self-improvement, reward, adventure, relaxation, socialising or just replenishment?
Again, this is a meaningless question. We are all shoppers at different times and for all the above motives at some time.
And these motives have existed from the time of the earliest bazaar and haat! They are not generated by the likes of Big Bazaar or Wal Mart!
3. At some point the question is raised that - How is the retailer going to ‘Attract-Arrest-Acquire’ the 'shopper' from the point she enters the store to when she is moving around and checking stuff out to when she actually picks up and puts the product in her basket?
All I can say is that I find it increasingly difficult to convince even my 3 year old son to do anything against his wishes...then how the hell is it possible to 'Attract-Arrest-Acquire' the shopper...
Having said that it is possible to suggest, influence, excite, engage, encourage the person into trying, buying, experimenting, coming again, etc.
Minus the hype, retail 2.0 is not much different from the way we have always bought stuff...Of course there are differences.
1. Shopping is no longer for needs. It's for wants. And even JLT. For no particluar reasons.
2. With lack of open spaces and our tropical climate, the big AC malls are the new play-ground for the urban middle class.
3. With the break-down of joint families and the drop in the large social circuits of nuclear families, malls are the new social outing.
4. When kids pester, we mall; to fight week-end boredom we mall; when our diasporic extended familes arrive, we mall and so on...
5. Shopping is the new stress reliever, not just for women but for busy rich executives, for DINK couples, for single men/ women, for the elderly with heavy wallets and kids in the USA and others.
6. And as I said earlier, the boundaries between impulse and durable goods, between monthly necessities and luxury brands are blurring!
7. Design - of the mall, the brand experience and packaging, architecture, and sensorial marketing/ branding is on the rise...
8. However, expectation levels of the consumer will always rise to surge ahead of the latest service and product offerings.( Read a related post - Hedonistic Treadmill and Customer Service)
9. Having said that, the fundamentals haven't changed. People will find the stuff they want, stock up in a sale, avoid unpleasant mall/ brand/ service experiences, and generally stay a step ahead of the marketer...
The Buyer is the Shopper is the 50%-Discount-sale-Gate-Crasher is the VFM-Seeker is the Luxury-Brand-Buyer is you and is me!
But that's under 5% of India to put things in perspective...
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