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Top trends in shopper marketing in 2018

With a more and more savvy consumer and digital and technology re-shaping it, shopper marketing became in the last years almost a science, relying a lot on research and customer observation. While in the US, the Shopper Marketing magazine developed a very strong research on this year’s trends that can be read here, we asked 3 local advertising specialists to give us their thoughts as well.

 

Cristina Oncescu, Head of Strategy pastel

What do you believe will be the biggest shopper marketing trends of 2018?

I don’t know if they are the biggest, but they are certainly hot in 2018:

  • Personalised shopping

There are many in-store technologies that can be used to provide a personalised shopping experience. NFC (Near Field Communication) chips, QR codes, iBeacons and Visual Light Communications are just some of the emerging technologies used. These, when linked to previous shopping histories via a loyalty app for instance, can provide disruptive yet compelling interactions with the shopper as they enter the store.

  • Virtual assistance

From voice to chatbots, going through messenger apps, one-to-one communication is on the rise. Being available and being helpful, when the shopper needs you, is making the difference.

  • Augmented Reality

The use of Augmented Reality on mobile devices provides an engaging way for marketers to reach their target audience – it’s quick, easy and very interactive. With the integration of AR on iPhones, it will be easier for marketers to engage larger audiences during their path to purchase.

What are they influenced by and why?

Technology, and especially mobile, led shoppers becoming more and more omnichannel. Now, this is an actual behaviour that the shoppers engage in (of course in a subconscious way). Web, mobile, social, apps – it’s all just shopping to consumers. The separation between retail channels is growing even more blurred by the day. Can they return online products in-store? Can they check if the store has their size and colour on their mobile phone before they leave their homes? Consumers expect a seamless experience across all channels.

What is pastel advising its clients this year?

Great content will always engage. Have an interesting, consistent story and a seamless experience throughout the whole omnichannel path to purchase.

Anton Gherca, Chief Innovation Officer at g7

What do you believe will be the biggest shopper marketing trends of 2018?

We believe that shopper marketing is an area of brand communication that has been kept largely untouched by the digital revolution that is reshaping the advertising industry for the past 10 years. So we expect that „digital BTL” will start gaining momentum, as today’s practices are deeply engrained in traditional approaches of point of sale communication. We think that we will see more connections between social media and shopper marketing, and geofencing and point of sale promotions, with the aim of delivering a more integrated omnichanel shopper experience.

What are they influenced by and why?

Like many things in advertising, the move towards a more „digital” shopper marketing approach is driven by the consumers themselves, or more precisely, by their lifestyle. As of 2017, the penetration rate of smartphones in Romania is 70%, while 41% of the population are already mobile social users. Peer-to-peer ridesharing like Uber makes people understand the benefits of the sharing economy,  on-demand services like Netflix put them in the driver’s seat while the wide 4G coverage makes them want everything now. This means people are getting more and more accustomed to having everything at a push of a button and they expect higher levels of service, increased transparency, embedded interactivity and all in all a better customer experience out of everything.

I know this sounds like a bunch of buzzwords cramped togheter in one sentence, and our agency has never been in the „buzz” business, but the reality is that the shift in consumers’ lives is happening with or without us. I think the bottom line is that today’s shoppers are just expecting something more out of marketing communications. More relevance, more engagement, more customization. This doesn’t mean that we, the shopper marketers, can’t still get away with the old „buy one – get one” or „scratch this to win a prize that you don’t even want” mechanics. But wouldn’t that be a pity?

What is g7 advising its clients this year?

Our agency has embarked in a digital transformation journey and once set in motion, it can’t be stopped. We will continue an initiative started in 2017, of hosting periodic innovation workshops together with our clients for identifying the opportunities put forth by today’s technology, and see where that gets us. Still, there are a couple of areas we keep tightly in our focus: Proximity marketing, Loyalty management and Gamification. We work towards integrating in an organic manner these three capabilities in the approach our clients are already used to: honest creative work, deep understanding of shopper behavior and solid deployment in the retail ecosystem.

Ondina Olariu, Business Director Geometry Global

“Fragmentation, increased competition and e-commerce are key words for 2018 and beyond in our region. After seeing a huge expansion, somewhat even inflated for some of the retail players, we will witness a new battleground, named proximity. As global retailers keep expanding, we will live through a great variety of formats, more flexibility and adaptation to micro-retailing needs. Proximity will be influenced as well by the increasing degree of urbanization, as well as the new generations of shoppers, more dynamic, digital savvy and format switchers (in Romania, 25 cities cover 31.3% of total population and 55.6% of urban population – source:  INS, Romania, 2017).

And when we say flexibility and adaptation, think beyond format, as we see discounters aggressively stepping in the services territory, while share of consumer spend reached 68% in services vs 32% in goods in 2016 (source: Kantar Global Trends 2018). Goods subscription – meaning bundle goods as a service is something that we preached our clients for a couple of years already and it’s approaching it’s turning point in 2018.

E-commerce in Europe is predicted to reach 10% of total retail (source: Kantar 2018 Global Predictions, WPP Data), with a clear future towards what we call omni-channel, especially since gen Z takes the scene as newest shoppers. At global level we see the switch and struggle of most pure e-commerce players in becoming physical as well, to the level where blogs impersonate the physical space in temporary shops where experience blends with sales, while in Europe we are taking steps into developing the brick-and-mortar into e-commerce, especially for FMCG area, which are the most shopped for categories. Retailers will continue or start monetizing opportunities through their own apps, following the evolution of more mature markets, such as Spain (+210% in app sessions growth in the last 2 years) or Germany (+130%). Here again, it seems that pure digital players have a degree of advancement, since digital-first retail apps saw more that 2x the average sessions / user each month and saw stronger growth in the last 2 years. (source: App Annie 2017 retrospective report). This means we will see accelerated growth for digital players apps, as the new arrivals from physical retailers will need to extract good lessons and apply on fast track.

Blending online and offline expresses also in automation, such as automated cashiers. As retailers will increasingly see value, watch for a retail unemployment crisis, especially in more mature markets. The proliferation of private labels will increasingly force out brands from the physical shelf. Most of these private labels continue to be supported as brands rather than price options, from food to fashion (see Esmara for Lidl and Tex for Carrefour) and home appliances (eg Carrefour Home consumer electronics). Health and Wellness is an increasingly appealing theme, for both brands and retailers. Watch the shelf space growth in store, as well as the latest positioning of certain private labels, trying to capture value and exploit the trend.

As a shopper agency, we are not only advising but already working with our clients on the omni-channel shopper journey models, including retailer strategies and new channels opportunities in this process. We build with them strong e-commerce fundamentals for the Romanian market and expand to e-commerce experiences and integration of channels for more mature markets. We operate with an increasingly complex model that includes data management and A/B testing applied to shopper initiatives and integrate thorough shopper knowledge in every solution we bring to the table. Bonus: an emerging trend, still less visible to this market is the return to D2C (Direct to Consumer). It will be highly influenced by retailers’ behavior, however, more brands become conscious they cannot rely exclusively on retailers and distributors in building their relationship with shoppers and consumers, therefore they’ll be trying to find ways to cut it short to them and bypass the “official” channels.”

 

 

 

Technologies that help you work from anywhere in the world

Fifty-one percent of EMEA teleworkers work from home just one day or less, with 68 percent in APAC and 58 percent in North America reporting the same.

According to a Global Workplace Analytics survey, Cost and Benefits: Advantages of Telecommuting for Companies, nearly six out of ten employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit to having telecommuting programs. Real estate costs alone can make up the majority of a business’s annual overhead costs. The average real estate savings if a business employed full-time teleworkers? $10,000 per employee per year; add in reduction of utility costs and that number increases to $11,000, or $700 billion per year in the U.S. if employees worked from home just part-time.

But more than that, more and more people decide to work out-of-home while travelling and experiencing other activities, by becoming digital nomads or simply working remotely for a longer period of time. Their new lifestyle is helped and allowed by the new technologies available. Some of them are:

Videoconferencing

Live video feeds help out-of-office workers see and speak to one another in real time, anywhere they are, which is the next best thing to a face-to-face meeting. And that being possible due to the fast internet broadband available in may places around the world, the increased number of places offering free wifi. Moreover, “certain companies have even done away with renting a traditional office and instead run their business out of a shared co-working space to accommodate their largely remote workforce. Shared office spaces, where remote employees can gather to work, have been created and are more widely available in different cities. This in itself represents the growing amount of remote workers in recent years,” wrote BusinessNewsDaily.com.

Collaborative cloud software

Investing in them (you can find some inspiration here) , especially in the ones that work very well on mobile, will help improve the response and the remote work. Building a digital workplace gives your employees the tools they need to collaborate and work from anywhere, anytime and on any device and that’s the key to building productive modern teams that deliver business results.

Adapt to change faster and achieve objectives sooner with project management solutions, by bringing together work management, full reporting, visibility and an intuitive interface that anyone can use. Cloud-based project management software gives your workforce, customers and partners a better way to work together using real-time data, automated workflows and a user experience that lets them do their job the way they want to.

The best devices

From a good, thin and powerful laptop or notebook, to a smartphone, a power bank and an external hard-disk, those devices are probably the most important ones you will need to carry on with you almost all the time. “For long-term remote work, purchasing the latest laptop model is smart, as technical difficulties can be crippling when there’s limited access to an in-house IT specialist or nearby Apple Store,” advices mashable.com.

Moreover, “an international SIM card is more expensive, but potentially worth it if you’ll be traveling to multiple countries in a shorter time period. ChatSim, which supports all of your chat apps so you can stay connected from anywhere, is another alternative if you’re only interested in sending texts or instant messages. Carrying a separate global, unlocked MiFi device ensures a backup plan in the event of a weak Wi-Fi signal or public networks of questionable security. Other useful tools include: portable travel routers, Ethernet cables, and Google Voice, which is especially handy for keeping a U.S. phone number (NomadSMS is another similar service),”points out Stephanie Walden for mashable.

Privacy filters for laptops

Screen privacy filters are an easy way to keep snooping eyes from seeing what’s on your laptop monitor.

Moreover, here are some tools that can help you manage your business from anywhere in the world.

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