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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£Millions lost at the checkout: the value of behavioural analytics

Queue abandonment
Queuing causes shoppers frustration and increases abandonment rates

 

 

 

Queuing may be quintessentially British but it’s indisputably bad for customer satisfaction. Which ultimately means it’s bad for sales. The-doom mongers may constantly predict the Armageddon of bricks and mortar shopping, but the reality is that there are still a wealth of shoppers that prefer to purchase instore rather than online. Ensuring that shoppers complete their shop is clearly a fundamental requirement for retailers.

2018 intelligence suggests that UK brands and retailers are losing over £14bn per year  because of queue abandonment.  SRI has worked on several projects, in both the UK and Internationally, that corroborate these findings.

One UK retailer we worked recently saw average queue abandonment rates of 6% and similarly a South African retailer we analysed saw figures of 8%.  In both cases, these abandonment rates were even worse during the lunchtime period. Busy office workers didn’t want to spend their precious lunch breaks queuing and would abort their mission rather than waste time.

Thankfully, such unwitting self-sabotage is relatively easy to measure and fix.  But as the old adage goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. The key to success therefore lies in identifying problems you don’t necessarily know you have, by getting ever closer to your customers’ behaviour. Behavioural analytics help you monitor what your customers are actually doing, enabling you to offer an improved experience that enables them to complete their shop!

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The draw of the store

Although the growth in on-line sales is unquestionable, that’s not a reason for retailers or manufacturers to take their eye off the ball with Bricks & Mortar.

In the UK a mere 4.4% of grocery sales are on-line and the IGD predicts that this will rise to 8.9% by 2019. OK that’s strong growth but it still leaves over 90% of sales to be accounted for by physical stores. (more…)

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Grocery Retailing – A Volume Business

Grocery retailing is undoubtedly a volume business where marginal changes in shopper behaviour can have a massive impact on the balance sheet.

To use an example, some five and a half billion litres of milk are sold in the UK each year with the top 5 grocery multiples accounting for nearly three quarters of this volume.

At a price of £0.75 a litre, Tesco as the UK’s largest retailer sells over £1bn worth of milk a year to the British people. As such increasing sales by just 1% would result in a revenue uplift of around £10m. (more…)

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Find Time

How do we look for things?

Chances are that if you are like me at some point you will have lost something such as your keys and have had to try and find them. You will have gone first to the most logical places such as the key hooks by the door or the counter top in the kitchen; but if your keys don’t show up there you’ll try elsewhere, working through a mental list of all the possible places that your keys might be. As the search goes on you’ll probably feel yourself getting more and more frustrated and possibly start thinking about how much time you are wasting and how you need to be moving on to do something else. But you don’t stop, you need your keys!

Looking for products in a supermarket is no different. (more…)

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Time To Shop

In his book Inside the Mind of the Shopper, US shopper insights pioneer Herb Sorensen states that “Shoppers only spend 20% of their time selecting purchases and 80% in transit” with the implication that retailers need to put products in the path of shoppers so they can spend less time walking and more time buying. This would certainly seem to be a valuable insight in as much as it makes a distinction between useful and wasted shopper time; however is this generalisation about time utilisation always true? (more…)

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Seeing The Light

This great lecture by Beau Lotto on light and colour got me thinking…

 

So:

Colour is important in telling us about our environment and the things in it.

Colour is a function of the wave length of the illumination, the transmittance of the space between our eye and the object and the reflectance of the object. Changing any one of these dimensions changes the colour we perceive.

Our brains adapt to changes in these dimensions so that we can continue to perceive objects as the quality of light changes, but this adaptation is not instantaneous.

This being the case let’s consider a retail environment. (more…)

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Putting Things Into Context

As traditional media fragments then the retail coal face becomes ever more important in the battle of brands to capture the attention of consumers en-mass.

Little wonder then that shopper marketing and the research and insight which fuels it are becoming an increasingly significant element in many organisations marketing and communications mix.

But marketing to shoppers at this first moment of truth presents a unique set of challenges. (more…)

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