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Friday, November 3

Buyers Shoppers You and Me

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...

6 comments:

meraj said...

a couple of instances of my shopping behaviour...

- my decision to buy a flat tv was pitted against going to the strand book fair. flat TV won coz i didnt have enough time for the books fair (a much more serious exercise). went to the shop...took precisely 5 minutes to decide, swiped the card and had the TV at my home.

- my girl-friend says that i can give any woman an inferiority complex...the way i buy clothes...spot a good-looking t-shirt and i buy, see a nice red-shirt and i buy etc etc.

Manish said...

yup.. i remember this incident meraj...just proves the point of most things becoming impulse...it's just the size of your wallet that restricts...

poets in many ways are like women - they like textured thoughts and shop like women...i too shop like a woman...

the other point i forgot to mention, in a mall the young and the young at heart display androgynous buying behaviour...

BTW where has pooja disappeared...she doesnt write her comments no more .. missing her:-)

pooR_Planner said...

Paco Underhill in his book, ‘Why We Buy’ has explained in great details, I think bits and pieces of the article has come from there ;-) . It’s true in India, we buy only when we need (at least 95% of Indians). The remaining 5% are the rich conspicuous consumers.

Your observation is very very true when you say "shopping in retails stores & malls are purely impulse driven" but only and only when the wallet permits. I feel Window shopping is the real stress-buster, (and as advertising professionals we can do a lot with this space) consumers keep in mind to come back and pick up stuff. Especially with young college girls ...

Lastly completely agree with you that marketers can only encourage, influence and experiment with consumers to come back but CANNOT MAKE'EM 'ACQUIRE or ARREST' them.

Manish said...

hmmm... i strongly feel marketers and advertisers in India need a total over-haul of their language...

us and them need to be sympathetic, empathetic and realise the limited hold we have on the consumers in this new age!

any more shopping observations, roop!

pooR_Planner said...

http://www.exchange4media.com/e4m/news/newfullstory.asp?section_id=2&news_id=23449&tag=18176&pict=12

Good article...all the more reason why marketers & advertisers should listen to consumers especially the new generation.

MobileMonkey said...

Organised retail is an extremely focussed investment business where the focus lies on rotating cash as fast as possible. Hence one of the tools is to increase impulse purchase to the maximum. People in the marketing and communication space need to understand that there is a more base and more blunt reason for so much "science and art" going into retail marketing. Its all about money honey