Tag Archives: shopper marketing

Racing to Influence In-Store Purchases

A smart shopper is a well-advised shopper, and today’s hyper-connected shoppers are looking online for product information and inspiration. With millions of pieces of content just a click away, which types of content and online platforms actually influence shoppers to make a purchase? After surveying 14,000 online users, the answers are in. Start your engines, marketers: partnering with non-celebrity influencers on Facebook, YouTube and blogs is key to influencing your shoppers, particularly millennials and males. To see the full results of our survey, check out the infographic below.

Racing To Influence Infographic In-Store Purchases by Collective Bias

60% of consumers have taken blog or social media posts into consideration while shopping. Click To Tweet 70% of millennials prefer non-celebrity product endorsements over traditional celebrities. Click To Tweet

End of 2015 for Shopper Marketers

Written by Aly Howard and Rachel Majors

Can you believe it? 2015 is three-fourths of the way through. We know, we’re just as shocked at the realization as you are. Going into the final months of the year marks a great time for reflecting on what has happened and preparing for what’s to come. We turned to our CB leaders – Amy Callahan, Co-founder and CCO, and Bill Sussman, CEO – and asked them to reflect on Shopper Marketing in early 2015, as well as give us some insight into the end of the year and 2016.

Social & Digital to trump in-store

Bill believes shopper marketers will continue to look for efficient social and digital media solutions that help them support their most important retail customers, and that this trend will continue to accelerate in 2016.

Amy agrees with Bill, “especially as retailers continue to eliminate in-store tactics for suppliers, social and digital will be efficient spends to target their customer to point them back in store for purchase.”

It will be interesting to see how brands change their social and digital efforts to reach consumers. Will these advancements hurt in-store sales? Only time and continued digital efforts will tell.

Content > social networks

It’s no secret that brand involvement in social media is practically a necessary tactic nowadays. But rather than getting platform specific, our leaders recommend that brands focus on creating shareable content.

“To me, social platforms are the distribution vehicle to reach lots of people,” Bill states. What matters more is the content that gets created to be shared on those social platforms. Great content equals engagement.”

Amy sees content the same way, and also addresses the possibilities of new platforms entering the market:

“All platforms are going to continue to gain importance and new ones are going to keep popping up. What I think is more important than focusing on just one “important” platform is to create enough quality content that can be tailored to live on any social platform.”

The consumer should be able to see and understand the content no matter what platform they are using. Just like we post the same picture of our dog to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so all our friends can see how awesome he is, brands should focus on doing the same so their audience can receive a unified message.

Buy buttons to succeed only if placed strategically

The news of social platforms adding “buy buttons” has been in your newsfeed for weeks. With several brands testing out the new buy buttons on sites like Pinterest, we wanted to see what our CB shopper marketing professionals thought.

“I think buy buttons are great if they are placed in the appropriate places,” Bill said. “If a user’s mindset is not aligned with having a buying experience and they are only visiting your site or social platform as a browsing and idea generation experience, then buy buttons will get in the way and chase away visitors/traffic.”

It’s not all business for our leaders, though. After all, it’s practically a dream come true to be able to click away to your heart’s desire on everything “Pinteresty” and actually receive those products you love. Amy said, “I personally like buy buttons, but I am not your typical shopper/consumer. If I find the right item and the buying experience can be made simpler for me, I am all in.”

We got some great insights from the CB leadership. One thing’s for sure though: brands are seeking new ways to personally connect with their consumers. We are confident that digital efforts will continue to be essential for shopper marketing. Let us know your predictions on these topics and the rest of 2015 in the comments below.


What Marketers Need to Realize About Consumer Electronics Shoppers

Written by Jamie Smith 

How many of us remember buying our first electronics? I sure do. Although at 14, I have to admit that my choice of boom box (yes it was called that) was more about price and how cool I thought it looked. As I matured, I knew to ask the sales clerk questions about the products I was buying and to purchase the device that best fit my specific needs and budget.

Since that time, I can’t tell you how many electronics I’ve purchased from alarm clocks to laptops, tablets and cameras. Instead of going with cool factor or only asking the store employees for help, I do my own research. I look online to see what’s available first, then go to the store that has the most options I’m interested in. I usually ask an employee who specializes in the product I’m searching for and if I have time, will do more research online before making a purchase. I do tend to be the type to purchase from the store if I have actually gone into the store.

The ways that consumers research and then purchase products such as electronics has changed and shopper marketers need to make sure they are accommodate that rapidly growing trend.

As it turns out, my personal path to purchase when it comes to electronics is fairly similar to a large portion of the population.

Fellow blogger and consumer Kori Tomelden, for example, says she does her research upfront, especially to compare products side-by-side. However, Kori said she tends to be more the type to search in-store but then make the actual purchase online.  

That’s just two real-life examples. Let’s take a look at what national marketing research indicates.

Electronics shopper behavior by the numbers

The Consumer Electronics Association is a technology trade association representing the $211 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. According to a press release, the CEA released its report Enhancing the In-Store CE Retail Experience Using Mobile Devices in December 2014. That report outlines how social media, mobile device and shopping in-store go hand-in-hand.  

“Mobile shoppers most often use their mobile devices for assistance when shopping for electronics (60 percent) than any other product type,” the report reads. “… While shopping specifically for electronics, mobile shoppers use their devices to compare prices (63 percent), read customer ratings or reviews (52 percent) and search the Internet for more information (51 percent).”

“Mobile devices have significantly shifted consumers’ shopping behavior,” said Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis, CEA in the release. “Retailers are increasingly focusing on delivering a complete consumer shopping experience and mobile devices are now a vital piece of that puzzle.”

The Interactive Advertising Bureau released a report, Showrooming: Empowering Consumer Electronics, in 2013 with similar research results that indicate the prevalence of social media and mobile device use. “The most significant finding in the mobile component of the research was that while 42 percent of in-store mobile device using shoppers ultimately made their purchase online, a full 30 percent made their purchase in the store,” according to the report. “Interestingly, those who used their mobile phones while shopping were also more likely to make an unplanned purchase (32 percent in-store vs. 22 percent online).

A few more findings from the IAB report that we need to consider:

  • 42 percent of those who used a mobile device spent more than $1,000 while in the store
  • Among mobile device owners who didn’t use their device in-store, only 21 percent spent more than $1,000
  • 65 percent of shoppers who use their mobile device while in the store indicated that using their mobile device while in-store made them more likely to buy the product

Takeaways for shopper marketers

What these stories and anecdotal evidence show us is that brands must be savvy in multiple information channels including social media, website information, and yes, still in-store. It’s no longer appropriate or effective to broadcast a message and expect people to fall in line. We as consumers want information and we want it in the moment we need it. 

So what does this mean? Marketers need to work with their brand clients to make the entire path to purchase environment approachable, accessible and attractive. Marketing is not about using a bullhorn to spread a message anymore. It involves preparing the client to meet the hurt points (needs) of the consumer.

This means making sure the website provides access to product reviews, product specifications, and the ability to compare products. The website must also be mobile friendly. This concept also means ensuring that the in-store experience is positive including well-educated employees and having adequate if not ample Internet access in-store for the mobile users. I know I’ve personally walked away from a decision because I couldn’t get information online while shopping in a store.

Finally, it means using multiple methods to make sure customers realize these information sources are available including in-store signage, social media engagement, and utilizing brand ambassadors to share the brand story.

About the Author: Jamie Smith is an avid content creator both for her personal blog Jamie’s Thots and for her writing business Jamie’s Notebook. A newspaper journalist by training, Jamie has loved the written word since elementary school. She started her personal blog in 2005, but had never considered that platform as a means of making a living until joining Social Fabric in 2013. She still writes some magazine and newspaper articles, but the majority of her work is now in sponsored blogging, corporate blogging and website writing. Happily married to husband John, Jamie works in a home office and loves sharing about her four-legged “children.” Tweet her at @JamiesThots.

Pinterest as a Marketing Tool

Over 30 million Pins throughout Pinterest recently became buyable. Now that consumers can purchase products within Pinterest, should retailers jump on the bandwagon? The highly addictive platform is often the first stop for consumers researching purchases. The convenience of tapping the blue ‘Buy It’ button marries the shopping and buying process, allowing browsers to buy it now – pure instant gratification. In addition, it is FREE.

Brands like Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom went live the first week. The Pinterest partnership with Shopify and Demandware enables small retail businesses to enter the Pinterest selling game. Being an early adopter might just improve the bottom line for retailers large and small this year.

Video by Pinterest

How does it work?

Buyable Pins appear in the home feed, in the search and category feeds as well as boards. When a Pinterest visitor (Pinner) spots a pin with a blue price, they can buy it right from the app. They can scroll through more images from that retailer with the ‘see more’ feature. They no longer have to visit the retailer’s website to make a purchase. There is also a price filter to sort the price point of buyable pins. There are search categories, including “Shop our picks” — a curated selection of seasonal goods — and “Shop” for the latest buyable Pins.

pin 1

Image from Pinterest

When a Pinner makes a choice, they simply tap on the “Buy It” button to pay with Apple Pay, PayPal or a credit card. The product is shipped for the same price the Pinner would pay on the merchant’s website. It’s that simple.

Mobile Devices Only For Now

Pinterest says, “More and more people on Pinterest are using it on their mobile devices. But, it can be hard to make purchases on those devices. Buyable Pins work so seamlessly on mobile, they’ll help you close the sale right when someone has the impulse to buy.” The simple, secure checkout is just for mobile. “If you’re in the U.S., you’ll be able to discover more than 2 million Buyable Pins on your iPhone or iPad at the end of July. If you’re on Android or using your desktop, you’ll see them in future releases.”

Buyable Pins are currently only available to select U.S. retailers or businesses using commerce platforms Shopify or Demandware. If you are interested in creating Buyable Pins to sell your products, there is a waitlist sign up form.

Pinterest Buyable Pins – a Powerful eCommerce Tool

Amy Callahan, Co-founder and CCO of Collective Bias writes in a Huffington Post article, “It isn’t enough to just put your hashtag on other marketing materials and assume that shoppers will know what to do with it. You must give them an action to take, especially a sharing action encouraging them to share their own experience with the brand or with friends and family.” She explains the future of social media marketing, “Within the next five years, social media spending is projected to represent 21 percent of the overall marketing budget. But don’t just check the social media box – spend time to really understand your shopper’s new path to purchase. You might be surprised and learn the audience you intended to target is totally different than the one you should target online. Once you have determined how your audience behaves online, seamlessly integrate targeted, relatable and engaging content into your overall shopper marketing campaign to see the highest return.”

The newest way to buy may prove to be the best way of attracting new customers while cultivating existing customers. Marketing plans are being updated to include Buyable Pins. If a retailer selects a “wait-and-see” attitude, they may find themselves seriously behind in a few months as Pinners discover and forge relationships with early adopters.

For more information, visit Buyable Pins on Pinterest.

Back-to-School with Millennial Moms

For most parents, back-to-school time means pulling out wallets to purchase new backpacks, school supplies, clothes and more for their kids. In fact, back-to-school sales are expected to reach about $56.3 billion this year. Targeting parents during this “time” has become a more complicated process than ever before. As some parents start their shopping well in advance, a study by America’s Research Group found that 58% of parents want to wait until the winter holidays to spend money when retailers increase their sales and deals. So how can brands and retailers effectively reach back-to-school shoppers when such a large shopping window exists?

In her new MediaPost article, “Back-to-School with Millennial Moms,” Holly Pavlika interviewed Jeff Fromm, author of Marketing to Millennials, to find three things brands should keep in mind when targeting the group.

Tip #1? Remember she is very pragmatic. To ramp-up your back-to-school marketing strategies, read the full article on MediaPost Engage:Moms.

The Weekly Bias: Prime Shopping & Millennials

Written by Rachel Majors

The weather is hot and so is this week’s social media news! Let us know what you think in the comments.

Today Is A Prime Day to Shop On Amazon

Amazon Prime Day, a global shopping event, is taking place online today, July 15. Amazon is offering Prime members “more deals than Black Friday” to celebrate the site’s 20th birthday. The one day event will bring Prime shoppers Lightning Deals, seven Deals of the Day and free shipping as always. Members can also experience Prime Photos, an unlimited photo storage option, while participating in the #PrimeLiving Photo Contest to win a $10,000 Amazon Gift Card. There’s a lot happening on Amazon today! Not a member? Sign up for a 30-day free trial of Prime to get in on today’s deals.

Use Facebook Groups to Grow A Niche Community

Building a local niche community can sometimes be a daunting task to leaders. In-person networking takes time that a lot of people struggle to find. Facebook’s wide outreach abilities can help ease the trouble of finding group members. By searching for people who like other groups similar to your niche, you can find people who will benefit from your expertise and grow your community. Outreach templates, rewards and personal engagement are just a few tips offered in this article for building a successful niche community.

Can Shopper Marketers Reach Millennials?
Millennials make up “80 million shoppers with one trillion dollars in buying power…” according to this article. Brands are constantly looking for ways to reach the influential generation, but it’s difficult. Millennials seem to be all over the place when shopping. They’re not brand loyal yet, they crave money saving deals and can give or take when it comes to shopper marketing. One-third of Millennials are active on shopper media while almost the same amount are completely detached. Don’t give up hope, there are still opportunities to reach these shoppers through creative strategies, active targeting and using different media to reach the generation.

What Does The Phy-gital Shopper Want?

No doubt shopper marketing is now the golden girl of the marketing world with exponential growth last year and continuing well into 2015. Mobile, social, geolocation, technology and endless data will continue to rapidly transform shopper marketing. I started in shopper marketing a million years ago when it was called sales promotion and I don’t remember us ever talking about science or data. The industry has changed enormously.

Mindtree recently conducted a shopper survey of more than 2,400 shoppers in the U.S. to rank over 70 in-store and online features for what they call today’s new “phy-gital” shopper.

Here’s what Mindtree found:

>>Top online features influencing purchases:

  • 50 percent wanting to buy online and choose shipped to home or pick up from store.
  • 33 percent said they would buy more if they could return products to any store and get free home delivery.
  • 24 percent want a 360-degree view of products, but very few retailers offer this.
  • 24 percent want more information: price and product comparisons and a list of best-selling products, but half of retailers do not offer this.

>>Top in-store features influencing purchases:

  • 33 percent are looking for speed: self-checkout and technology features to locate products and see how crowded a store is.
  • 33 percent want flexible purchase and delivery options, such as free home or in-store delivery.

As more and more retailers give the customer what they want and institute these features, it will be harder and harder to differentiate and compete. So how can stores address the needs of the phy-gital shopper and stay ahead of the pack?

>>Easy access to information is key.

360-degree views of the product and reviews are just the tip of the iceberg for influencing purchases. Today’s shoppers want content. Content they can find easily and quickly.

Women do their homework for most purchase decisions. Retailers and brands can win her heart and share of wallet by providing product details, photos of the product in use, reviews, unboxing videos and showcasing additional uses for the product, linking to other valuable content such as recipes and examples of the product in use. But it all needs to be at her fingertips. Don’t make her search and search. Being a useful, helpful resource will keep her coming back again and again.

>>Provide value and be “likeable.”

The Mindtree research stated consumers do not want to social network with a retailer. Maybe that’s because many retailers are not giving the consumer what they want. Brands tend to talk about themselves and do promotion after promotion on social channels. The 80/20 rule applies to your content calendar. Eighty percent of the content should be useful content: how-to content, the story behind a product or invites to events in-store, for example. Twenty percent can be promotions and deals. Leverage social channels to ask and poll customers. Listen and then give them more of what they want. Provide value beyond the discount coupon. By providing value and actually listening, you have the opportunity to endear your brand to the phy-gital shopper. Being likeable can be a big differentiator when the majority of your products are similar in price and in the offering.

>>Remember to make it fun to shop.

Women make or influence 85 percent of all purchase decisions. And for her, shopping is a sport. She loves the hunt for a bargain and the discovery of finding something new and interesting. Leverage that to your advantage. Curate content in interesting ways. Curation could be your secret weapon to surprising and delighting her and making it fun to shop.


Useful Brands Stay Relevant With Their Core Customers

Advertising messages inundate us in print, broadcast and online. According to a recent study by Razorfish, the average person experiences “5,000 brand messages a day and [most of us] don’t have the time or energy to care about most of them.”

All these banners, jingles, newspaper inserts and videos blast their way into every conceivable nook and cranny of media space, making it impossible for consumers to avoid. We’ve reached a saturation point in traditional advertising, and most of us will do whatever we can to get far, far away from the omnipresent marketer’s voice ringing in our ears.

People are busy working, living and just trying to keep up. While some ads offer a 30-to-60-second humorous escape from the daily grind, many messages simply pander the  offer of the day…or more likely the offer of the minute soon to be replaced by the next minute’s deal from a competitor.

Become Useful to Your Shoppers

In this oversaturated environment, people place value on “brands that are useful over brands that are interesting;” however, everyone defines usefulness differently. A young father at home with 3 kids may need an easy way to make a chore chart while a 22-year-old young woman just out of college may seek inexpensive ideas for creating a great nail art look.

Usefulness Leads to Brand Loyalty

Loyalty programs provide a basic level of utility (in the form of monetary or other compensation for time spent with a brand,) and some services have emerged such as Jingit, Snap and iBotta) that pay actual cash when shoppers give their attention to brand messaging or purchase a product. These companies understand that “consumers are now aware of how much their attention is worth to marketers, and they expect to be rewarded for it.”

Directly paying for a consumer’s attention is a special kind of honesty not long seen in advertising, but it does little to engender true loyalty between shoppers and brands. Modern life is complicated and we seek things to make it less so. When brands provide interesting content and useful tools to help solve our problems, we are more likely to purchase products from those brands on their next trip to the store.

Useful brands:

  1. Can still talk about their product but do so within the context of meal inspirations, party plans, how-to guides and engaging new ways to connect with their friends and family. In this spirit, Home Depot creates and curates DIY how-to guides for its customers.
  2. Know they can’t be the only ones talking about their products. Bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers and Viners advocate for their favorite brands because in an authentic way (even when compensated by the brand.) A social influencer who shills for brands only because they get paid are not useful and will soon lose their audience. A blogger with no audience is a blogger with no influence. Coca-Cola leveraged a group of influencers to extend their highly successful 2014 Share-A-Coke program into the Walmart retail channel with the #ShareItForward variant.
  3. Create content that flows to where people want to find it. A story may start on a brand web site or a blog post, but engaged shoppers will share the images and videos from that story (when deemed useful enough) to friends and family across the social web. Whole Foods Market provide meal and decor inspiration to its customers across a number of followed accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

In this brave new world, brands must talk about things other than price and features with their shoppers, and social media is the best avenue for these conversations. We have entered the era of the useful brand. Useless brands today will quickly become the irrelevant brands of tomorrow.

The Future Is Location-Based Content Marketing

There’s no doubt we are drowning in content. It fills our inboxes and a specific search can lead us all into an abyss of content as one piece leads to more and more interesting topics. And even if we escape, retargeting is at every turn, tempting us to fall down the content rabbit hole once again.

Foursquare check-ins promised location-based content; yet it never really delivered on the promises it made to consumers despite its gamification platform and people craving “mayorships.” QR codes sparked early interest by consumers but never did really get the adoption marketers had hoped for.

But, will near-field technology and increasing adoption of mobile devices finally deliver location-based content? I know I shop with my smartphone in hand as do a reported 84% of smartphone shoppers, according to a study by Google and M/A/R/C Research. Add to this the rapid adoption of Beacon technology by major retailers and we might have the beginnings of content on demand, which could totally transform the shopping experience. The only obstacles are getting consumers to see the value and turn on the beacons, and for retailers to not barrage shoppers with ads, but instead provide useful content and information.

So what would I wish for with location-based content?

>>Bye, bye loyalty cards

Nearly any location you can make a purchase or “check in” at (gyms, grocery stores, frozen yogurt shops, etc.) has a chipper sales clerk or front desk attendant asking if you want a “loyalty card”. The idea of being able to rack up discounts and prizes in exchange for frequenting your favorite stores and workout spots is great in theory. In reality, shoppers rarely use their loyalty cards when in-store and they take up valuable wallet and keychain space. Location-based content should eliminate the need for loyalty cards by “checking in” a customer when they walk in the store and keep track of things for them.

>>No more searching for items

Nothing is more frustrating then trying to track down a store clerk or wandering the aisles trying to locate an item. Location-based content should feature a real-time product list or inventory that helps customers avoid going into stores only to find the item they wanted was sold out or not carried at the store to begin with. This is a feature that would truly keep customers coming to stores time and time again, knowing they will find exactly what they are looking for.

>>Product information

Savvy shoppers crave information. Mothers want the best bang for their buck without suffering for quality. Having an accessible database of information, including product reviews and in-store specific options, right on my mobile phone to employ while shopping would keep me from going home to look up and buy a product online.

>>Offers at my fingertips

Few people have time to read print newspapers, let alone scavenge for coupons within them. Having coupons and offers beamed to my mobile phone that are timely and relevant to what I’m shopping for will save me both time and money. If I am considering buying a product, I’ll be that much more likely to put it in my basket if I have a discount on my phone.

>>Speed up check out process

Walmart is infamous for its long checkout times. Getting stuck in line behind someone with a stack of paper coupons to give to the checkout clerk is a fate I wish on very few. Having all the coupons and offers I wish to use racked up on my mobile device that the clerk can obtain with one swipe will shave off unnecessary minutes spent in-store for all customers, bettering customer service and clerk checkout times at the same time.

Content and information that is catered specifically to what I am shopping for and where I am conducting my shopping will make the overall experience superior, tenfold. If retailers can strike the right balance of information flow and relevant content, location-based content could enhance –and change– the entire function of shopping. Game on.

Get Creative With Your Millennial Grocery Shopper

Like most shopping methods, Millennials are moving away from the habits of their parents and opting for a wide range of choices when deciding where to buy groceries. Straying from traditional grocery chains, they are spending their dollars at specialty, club, mass retailer and convenience stores, according to Barkely. How then are marketers to reach these unique shoppers and their ever-expanding wallets ($200 billion by 2017)?

In her new Mediapost article, “Get Creative With Your Millennial Grocery Shopper”, Holly Pavlika, SVP of Strategy at Collective Bias, identifies three key findings in order to lure and keep Millennials as dedicated aisle-browsers in your store:

  • Let Millennials participate in your marketing.
  • Millennials want to lead healthy lifestyles and crave adventure
  • Millennials want amenities

Learn more about this unique, experience-driven generation and how to achieve resonance with on MediaPost Engage: Moms blog.