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    • 06/20/17
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Financial Services
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Home and Living
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    How to take concept validation to the next level - Just listen to your customers

    So you are nearly at the last stages of your product development. Your team has invest a lot in developing new ideas - not just time and money. But, say you only have resources to bring one to market now. What is the best way to decide which one?

    • 06/19/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Improving customer loyalty and retail experience through mobile payments

    Eight years ago, Starbucks developed its own app for mobile payments. Today, it’s still held up as the gold standard in the United States.

    In Asia’s rapidly developing market, where mobile payment is eight to nine years ahead of the West, things are quite different.

    In China, you can mobile pay for everything from a cab to a mojito or utility bill. In 2015, WeChat registered more financial transactions in one day than PayPal did during the entire 12 months.

    But it’s not just China that’s adopting the trend. Mobile payment is also making massive inroads in Southeast Asia as shopping apps are gaining popularity. In Singapore alone, there are 30,000 retail points accepting contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay, Android and Samsung Pay.

    In Indonesia, the most populous country in the region with 250 million people, most of the big traditional retailers are unveiling e-commerce plans of their own. In a recent GfK study: The Connected Asian Consumer, consumers in Singapore and Indonesia also reported fairly high usage incidence of shopping apps (37 and 35 percent respectively). This growth is fuelled by affordable smartphones, a massive young and tech-savvy population and efforts by governments and telco operators to expand and improve high-speed wireless networks.

    The future has never been clearer. It’s only a matter of time before mobile payment goes mainstream.

    The Connected Consumer

    Unfortunately for traditional retailers, the age of e-commerce has also produced a new consumer – we like to call them the ‘Connected Consumer’ – and their behaviors are shaping the future of retail.

    In the GfK 2016 FutureBuy survey of 20,000 consumers in 20 markets, it was found that shoppers are becoming less loyal to any one retailer. Almost half (46%) of all consumers (14-65 year olds) stated they were less loyal when shopping. This figure rises among the youngest consumers to 53% of Gen Y (18-29 years), and six in ten (58%) of Gen Z (14-17 years).

    For retailers who understand the Connected Consumer, there are opportunities to stay ahead of the competition – and mobile payments are a huge part of it.

    Customer loyalty

    Despite becoming less loyal, many Connected Consumers expect an omnichannel shopping experience when they interact with a brand. Connected Consumers in APAC seek the best of both worlds.

    For example, shoppers in China are the most likely to embrace omnichannel shopping – seven in 10 (71%) shop both online and in-store while Australian shoppers are the most likely to shun online: almost two thirds (62%) shop exclusively in-store. In contrast, Indians lead the way in online shopping with almost one quarter (23%) shopping the category exclusively online.

    Therefore it is important for retailers to understand the new reality of the omnichannel consumer, and know that the ‘whatever, whenever’ culture demands that user experience is seamless across all devices. If retailers don’t understand this, customers will simply delete their app and move on.

    We predict that mobile payment could halt the current trend for a decline in shopper loyalty. It makes sense, really. There are numerous benefits for shoppers: avoiding queues, centralizing loyalty rewards, checking stock, ordering ahead, enjoying customized offers and easy price comparison.

    At the same time, using customer and data analytics, retailers can receive customer data to offer more personalized services. In turn, this presents an opportunity to generate long-term relationships.

    However, it is important to note that not all Connected Consumers are the same. For example, older consumers aren’t as comfortable with sharing personal information as younger consumers.

    Understanding the shopper’s purchase journey is easier these days with research intelligence offering detailed information on the route shoppers take when making a purchase, and ways in which online and offline touchpoints influence their decisions. We believe that brands that understand, respect and protect consumers’ individual boundaries will deserve the loyalty they earn by doing so.

    As mobile payments continue to grow in APAC, businesses in various sectors such as financial services, cybersecurity and telco stand to gain and can evolve to support the changing landscape.

    For example, for telco operators, engaging with retail merchants and partners can help strengthen the overall service ecosystem to provide better end user experiences for consumers. Additionally, the design and development of payment services can also be integrated with other emerging technologies and competencies to offer differentiation to target audiences.

    Customer experiences

    Loyalty is great, but to really retain customers in today’s omnichannel space, shopping experience is equally important.

    To Connected Consumers, simplicity and convenience is paramount. Not only do they expect everything quickly, they also lose their patience faster.

    What does that mean for retailers?

    For large retailers, mobile payment offers the opportunity to segment and target consumers much more effectively with highly personalized offers and incentives. Discounts and offers can be integrated into mobile payment, replacing the need for physical coupons and entering information into a terminal. Connected Consumers will wave goodbye to the traditional checkout queue and benefit from a wealth of customized rewards.

    Mobile payment also offers a chance for small retailers to move into a new era of retailing. Freed from high transaction fees and with new ways to connect with consumers, small retailers can now embark on the kind of personalization and targeting that is usually the privilege of larger players.

    With e-commerce here to stay, there is plenty of potential for retail businesses to leverage research intelligence to adequately design and develop strategies to target this group of consumers. Essentially, the key to success is to fully understand shopper behavior and be led by what consumers ultimately want, without being blinded by what the technology can do.

    Karthik Venkatakrishnan is Regional Director at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email karthik.venkatakrishnan@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

  • Why the smartest thing about your brand is your consumer
    • 06/19/17
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Why the smartest thing about your brand is your consumer

    One of the challenges when identifying opportunities for innovation is that consumers don't always recognise what they need. Steve Jobs famously said that the IPod would have not been developed if Apple had simply asked what people wanted. The innovations that succeed are those which disrupt consumer behaviour by providing a product or service that improves what is currently done today.

  • Empowering a global retailer to grow its online product assortment
    • 06/19/17
    • Retail
    • Product Catalogs
    • Global
    • English

    Empowering a global retailer to grow its online product assortment

    We help one of the world’s largest retailers improve its online shopping experience, increase sales and compete more effectively with digital rivals.

  • Targeting - Who Are We Innovating For?
    • 06/18/17
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Home and Living
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • United Kingdom
    • English

    Targeting - Who Are We Innovating For?

    Why do three out of four new product launches fail to achieve their potential? One area that is of paramount importance is to truly understand the target customer. Who is this product for? What are their unmet needs? And what will make them hand over their hard-earned cash? Read on to discover more.

    • 06/16/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Online Pricing Intelligence
    • Global
    • English

    Fine-tune and optimize your cross-channel pricing for better brand positioning

    Today’s Connected Consumers are increasingly price sensitive. According to our FutureBuy 2016 study, 58% of shoppers compare prices in different stores and more than a third (39%) use price comparison and discount websites. Consequently, promotional activity is intensifying as retailers and manufacturers battle to attract consumers with better deals. It is therefore vital that your pricing strategy is perfectly pitched.

    Perfecting pricing

    Defining and optimizing your pricing requires ongoing investment to ensure you are a) attracting buyers and b) securing your profit margins and brand positioning. You therefore need to continually monitor pricing dynamics and promotions across all channels: in-store, online and in print (ads, circulars, all relevant retailers and publications).

    Reviewing pricing strategies doesn’t necessarily mean price drops. It might be that, within the context of the market, your products are undervalued. You could not only be missing out on valuable margin, but also negatively impacting your brand positioning in the eyes of your target customer. A small increase in your price could have a significant impact, so this analysis can be hugely rewarding. In a recent project, we helped our client recognize that the strength of its brand justified higher price points. As a result, it claimed back valuable margin from its competitors. However, pricing that is too high could cause deal-seeking consumers to look elsewhere, so it’s important to find the sweet spot that is just right for consumers.

    Managing price erosion

    Price erosion is a sometimes unavoidable part of the product lifecycle, but manufacturers and retailers that have the ability to track both their online and offline pricing are better equipped to slow down unwanted price drops and ultimately maximize their margins.  Spotting price erosion early, before the price becomes set at that level, allows brands to be able to react to the correct market activity so they can bring back the highest ROI from their promotions.

    A competitive advantage

    With an overview of pricing, you can answer questions such as what is my product’s daily market price (advertised/promoted)? Is my pricing policy being followed? Is my pricing right for my audience – not too high, or low? What’s the ideal price gap between my product and that of my competitors?

    Crucially, we can help you track your pricing right down to an SKU level across the entire length of the customer journey. You can also combine this intelligence with Point of Sales Tracking data to determine the real return on investment of your pricing strategy.

    With these tools and techniques, you can fine-tune your pricing across all channels to optimize your brand positioning, and maximize your sales and profit. It’s a key tactic in your strategy to conquer the connected shopper.

    James Rudd is a Business Developer at GfK. He can be reached at James.Rudd@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    • 06/15/17
    • Retail
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    3 easy ways to increase ecommerce sales through online product content

    U.S. ecommerce sales grew almost 15% in Q1 2017 compared to one year ago as reported by Internet Retailer.  With the growth of these sales comes increasing expectations from purchasers.  A recent GfK FutureBuy study shows that 54% of consumers are now less loyal to any one brand and need to shop around more to find the best value and 45% of retailers, advertisers, and brands have less influence on purchase decisions than ever before.  Yikes!

    So how will you influence your current and prospective customers to keep up with these trends? With accurate and quality product content that provides purchasers with the information they require to have confidence in a purchase decision and to increase your cart conversions.  Here are three ways in which you can stand out from your competitors:

    1 – Add rich content elements.  Rich content includes multiple high resolution images, product manuals, brochures, videos, virtual tours, feature benefit bullets, etc.  Adding rich product content better engages and informs your customers, increasing the likelihood of a purchase conversion and making it less likely for them to return your product.  For example, according to Panomatics, websites with virtual tours / videos typically keep visitors on the product page 3 times longer!

     

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    2 – Create enhanced content.  If you’re not familiar with this term, it has been made most popular with Amazon by being referred to as A+ content.  However, it is now being accepted and encouraged to be displayed among top e-retailers like Walmart and Newegg and distributors such as D&H Distributing and SP Richards.  Enhanced content, aka A+ content, allows you to get creative with your product content design and information, helping you to convert and better inform those customers seeking product information beyond basic marketing content and product specifications.  82% of consumers go online to do product research before buying (Deloitte) so it is crucial that you grab your customer’s attention and keep it.

     

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    3- Optimize your product content for search.  If you are a brand, you’ll want to create an account for Google Manufacturer Center.  Google now offers a tool for brands to have major influence over the product data being displayed in Google Search and Shopping results.  Content was once controlled by retailers but brands are now empowered to ensure their product titles, descriptions and images are accurate and of high-quality.  And when Google recognizes better, more relevant content they bump up your search rankings, so that you can be found first, leading to quicker sales.

     

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    Today’s Connected Consumers love to find value by shopping around online.  The best way to stand out in the market is to have accurate, relevant and helpful content around your products.  Whether you’re looking for rich content elements, enhanced content or need to better manage your product data, product content can help you to influence purchase decisions and ultimately increase sales.

    • 06/14/17
    • Retail
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Global
    • English

    How retailers can build customer loyalty – one good experience at a time

    This post was co-authored by Heather Rakauskas.

    When asked to name their number-one challenge today, most retailers respond “improving customer loyalty”. At a time when online resources and ecommerce sites have placed shoppers firmly in control – able to find the best price, with SAP delivery, in seconds – having a long-term connection to consumers becomes invaluable. One of the few forces that can offset “lowest price wins” buying is consumer trust in and comfort with a brand.  

    The importance of customer loyalty programs

    This makes retailer loyalty programs even more important. They come in many shapes and sizes – personalized coupons, fuel rewards, VIP offers, surprises at checkout, free shipping, and points tiers, to name a few; but they all serve to remind customers why they should return to the brands they already know. Loyalty programs can also provide essential customer data that gives additional insights into promotion use, product trial and repeat, the identities of best customers, and more.

    And smart retailers assess the effectiveness of loyalty programs in a variety of ways – ongoing use of the offers, yearly value delivered by participants, and more. When launching a new loyalty effort, some retailers may even conduct a concept test, because this is a big investment with high expectations to meet. This due diligence often overlooks a key element of consumer satisfaction, though: the user experience.

    Applying UX research to loyalty programs

    Companies commonly apply “UX” principles and research to their websites and apps, closely observing and questioning users to find out what challenges and frustrations they might have experienced. By addressing the UX before launch, companies can head off major issues that could cripple acceptance and even create image problems for the brand.

    Loyalty programs deserve the same careful scrutiny – especially since they become an important part of the omni-channel experience, affecting communication and access both online and in-store. Loyalty use is experiential, not just transactional, and we should be viewing our programs through that lens.

    When assessing the user experience of a loyalty program, it is essential to look at both the offer and the interfaces (website, app and store), studying issues such as:

       

    • communication effectiveness for both process (how it works) and benefits
    • areas of confusion, irritation, inconveniences, and disconnection
    • delivery against expectations
    • drivers of and barriers to use — for both initial and return visits
    • consistency and usability across all program touchpoints
    •  

    One important tip for the work – include your front-line associates in this evaluation, if they are tasked with communicating or executing your program.

    Enhancing the overall customer experience

    When doing this work, you are determining how to optimize the program experience to encourage more sign-ups and, importantly, more active users. You are hoping this program experience not only drives purchases but enhances the overall customer experience, providing a halo effect on the overall brand and strengthening the relationships you have with your customers. With goals as lofty as these, it makes sense to employ UX research to make sure you are connecting with and satisfying users to the highest degree, with nothing left to chance.

    To share your thoughts, leave a comment below or email wendy.wallner@gfk.com or heather.rakauskas@gfk.com.

    • 06/13/17
    • Retail
    • Online Pricing Intelligence
    • Promotion and Causal Retail
    • Global
    • English

    Managing price erosion in the omnichannel shopping environment

    While eroding prices of technical consumer goods may excite the increasingly savvy and deal seeking Connected Consumer, they can be a big problem for product manufacturers and their retailers.

    Lower prices mean lower margins, and in today’s evolving omnichannel environment, it’s important to understand which promotions with which retailers bring back the highest ROI, as well as the impact retail promotions have on sales and margin.

    For example, in the durable goods market, a 10% cut in price could mean a 25 – 30% loss in margin for the retailer.  This is a big challenge if manufacturers have hundreds or even thousands of units in stores and distribution centers.

    Often a price drop starts with a single retailer, which can be due to a consumer price promise, pricing policies, or pressure from their competitors.  It’s important for the manufacturer to be able to spot price erosion early and act quickly before the price becomes set at that level.

    Does offline pricing on promotions drive down online pricing?

    It is easy to assume that online retail activity is responsible for driving pricing down since online sales continue to draw consumers away from traditional brick and mortar stores, and there are countless examples everyday of where this is happening, but is this the full story?

    In the below example which shows price erosion after the launch of a new TV set, we see that indeed an online retailer initiates the first drop (green circle), however, this is not the complete picture. Looking at the development of online and offline retailers, a far bigger impact on price was a promotion flyer published by an offline retailer.

     

    To get a complete picture of the market and how to react, brands and retailers benefit from being able to see both offline and online pricing so that they react to the correct market activity.

    In many markets, particularly larger geographical territories, the influence of offline marketing and in-store pricing is significant.  In these markets, there are regionally focused retailers and managers within larger retailer groups that have more pricing autonomy.  This leads to local pricing decisions that can drive the price below the online retailers serving the whole market with one single price position.

    Identifying this typically short-term behavior can reduce price-following activity which increases margins for retailers and better supports the manufacturers’ price position.

    Slowing down price erosion

    Combining daily online and offline promotional pricing can provide insight into the impact of offline activity and online pricing.  By aligning these two data sets with market data you can get unique insight to support better price and promotion decisions.

    While the objectives of at-launch and in-market pricing can vary (to maximize profit, gain market share or maximize penetration, minimize cannibalization within the portfolio, etc.), retailers and/or manufacturers can manage price erosion even more confidently if, additionally to knowing which price the product was offered at, they also know what consumers are willing to pay for this product, and where the optimal price point is for it to meet its objective.

    Insights on consumers’ budget restrictions and price perceptions are crucial to securely determine and steer pricing along the product life cycle.  Virtual store experiments with consumers are an effective way to quickly and confidently determine the price-revenue-profit triangle at different price points within the competitive set, and give manufacturers more confidence in their price decisions, and ultimately optimize the ROI of each SKU.

    Ultimately, price erosion is part of the product lifecycle, but slowing down unwanted and unexpected price drops can have a big, positive impact on margins for both manufacturers and retailers.

    To find out more on how combined online and offline price and promotion can help your sales please contact Adrian.Hobbs@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • European retail: Central and Eastern Europe gaining ground
    • 06/13/17
    • Press
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Geo+RealEstate
    • Global
    • English

    European retail: Central and Eastern Europe gaining ground

    GfK has released a comprehensive analysis of the retail scene in 32 European countries. The study evaluates purchasing power, the retail share of private consumption, inflation and sales area productivity, and also includes a turnover prognosis for 2017. The study appears in the new edition of ACROSS Magazine and will be presented at the ICSC European Marketing Conference in Vienna.

    • 06/09/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Global
    • English

    It starts with experience: How brands and consumers can become friends for life

    Every brand wants to broaden its client base, but to achieve this is one of the biggest challenges facing marketers.

    The key to success lies in building a relationship between consumer and brand. From this strong foundation, you can increase penetration, not only converting consumers into browsers, but also upgrading light buyers into regular buyers, and increasing the resistance of loyal buyers to switch to a rival brand. You can achieve brand success by making “friends for life”. Here’s how:

    Brand awareness + experience = success

    It goes without saying that you need to ensure your brand is top-of-mind in the shopper’s consideration set. At the simplest level, that means having a brand that consumers know, one that is available where they are shopping, and that grabs their attention. For many brands, consumers’ awareness levels of them are already high, and so more effort is required to increase brand penetration and customer loyalty.

    Here knowledge is power. Understanding which touchpoints have the maximum impact on your brand awareness allows you to optimize advertising and promotions campaigns aimed at broadening your client base. But you must go further to foster relationship building with non-buyers and current buyers of your brand by providing positive memorable experiences. This is how to build the relationships you want with current and potential customers and create lifelong partnerships.

    It’s all in the relationship

    Shoppers will only browse your brand if they have a neutral or good relationship with it, past negative experiences represent a considerable obstacle. That’s not to say you can’t change those bad feelings, but you must identify them and understand the causes before you can convert these consumers into browsers.

    Becoming friends for life

    A strong brand relationship goes right to the heart of the challenge of conquering the connected shopper. To broaden your customer base, you must start from a point of brand awareness, but in today’s highly competitive environment, that is a starting point in all sectors. The crucial added element that offers success is to build lasting relationships – to become “friends for life” with customers. The only way to get customer loyalty is to earn it. Providing a consistently excellent user experience across all channels is key, as is ensuring that your products deliver exactly what consumers expect. The final piece of the jigsaw is developing an effective customer loyalty program that provides real benefits to your consumers and whilst also strengthening your relationship with them.

    Oliver Hupp is Global Director Brand Strategy and Tracking at GfK. He can be reached at Oliver.Hupp@gfk.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Master the different elements of your media mix using store-level sales data
    • 06/09/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Point of Sales Analytics
    • Global
    • English

    Master the different elements of your media mix using store-level sales data

    In our free webinar, you'll learn how to juggle the different elements of the media mix and maximize their performance so that they deliver a greater return on investment.

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