Covid-19… fewer shoppers=increased brand exposure

Covid 19 has put normal life on hold.  It’s hard to find an area of life it hasn’t infiltrated.  Given all this, it’s only natural that the virus has had a massive impact on global shopper behaviour.  While most shops are shut, supermarkets the world over have been forced to adapt to incorporate vital health and safety considerations and facilitate social distancing in-store. Floor stickers, queuing, one-in-one-out rules, one way systems and protective screens have rapidly become the new norm.

Social Distance Sign on the floor during COVID-19

The natural, habitual process of grocery shopping has changed.  We are no longer free to roam, but now have to navigate enforced one-way systems that take us the length and breadth of the store.

SRI data suggests that traditionally shoppers only visit approx. 35% of the store.  In normal circumstances, they dip in and out of aisles according to their needs. The new restrictions mean they are forced to navigate the store in its entirety.  

This represents a profound opportunity for certain categories.  For example, a typical mainstream grocery aisle, like soft drinks, would normally only get about 30% of store traffic to visit.  Now it is getting 100%. So that’s exposure to 70% more prospective customers. Bingo!

On the flip side, prime locations are not necessarily prime anymore.  Does a gondola end have the same impact on engagement when shoppers are not permitted to choose how and where they move?

Inevitably there are more currently more questions than answers:

  • How can retailers adapt store layouts to improve the shopper experience and drive growth, whilst adhering to health and safety guidelines?
  • What are retailers and brand owners going to do to capitalise on increased aisle visitors?
  • How should designated promotional areas such as feature spaces and gondola ends adapt?

In the early days of this new-world-order-for-retail, there are clearly more questions than answers. But one thing is for sure, big prizes are in-store for the brands and retailers who get it right.

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Retail’s Black Hole – what’s really going on inside stores?

 

 

 

Competition from data rich ecommerce is forcing bricks and mortar retailers to adapt or die. In order to prosper, high street retailers need to understand what’s really going on inside their stores. Online shoppers’ behaviour is closely scrutinised and constantly monitored. As soon as a shopper logs on to an e-commerce website ads pop up and follow them around as they make their shopping journey and beyond.Meanwhile in the real world, retailer and brand owners are frantically playing catch up.  They have traditionally relied on EPOS data to tell them what shoppers are buying. EPOS data only gives a fraction of the picture though and doesn’t answer two of the key questions that are pivotal to analysing shopper behaviour, namely where are shoppers going and what are they doing?

For example, they can’t tell you that most shoppers who browse whisky, don’t actually buy it.  Nor can they reveal the shoppers lost at  lunchtime as the store is uncomfortably busy and queues are too long.

A recent SRI project focusing on the cereal aisle is a prime example of how using behavioural analytics is the only way for retailers to get a true understanding of what’s going on inside stores.  It revealed that only 42% of shoppers who enter the store actually go down the cereal aisle.  Of those, 43% do not even stop and browse and 26% browsed the petfood on the other side of the aisle. Therefore, only 13% of shoppers actively engaged with cereal.  This worryingly low numbers surely tells retailers and brand owners alike that they need to do more to attract and entice shoppers in to their categories.

Real-world insights are essential to gain a deeper understanding of the kind of experiences customers want, to maximise revenue within stores by using space and layout effectively. Retailers who have been watching closely and moving strategically to stay ahead of consumer expectations are thriving. Behavioural analytics are crucial in helping them understand customers’ wants and needs to maintain and increase wallet share.

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