Shopper Marketing at Traditional Retail: An Inevitable Journey

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"Shopper Marketing at traditional retail: An inevitable journey"

90% of the Indian retail is built on the strong bricks of traditional trade. The just next door 'kirana store' is still a significant part of the shoppers’ life. This makes Point-of-Purchase venture into knowing what role does shopper marketing play at the foray of traditional trade, is shopper marketing seeking its relevance here. Experts introspect, answer and help us gain a definite ground on this issue.

By Reena Mehta

An Inevitable Journey
Traditional retail amounts for 90% of Indian retail surely sounds a cliché statistic, but for brands it’s a journey that must be taken. The reason to embark on this journey is the fact that shopper behavior is well established and fairly mature within the traditional trade. Over generations the traditional trade has been able to establish and build a relationship, rapport and trust which are nearly impossible to replicate. Added to this is the proximity to the shopper - which by far is its biggest USP and this makes traditional retail the building block of Indian retail. Shopper marketing no doubts has gained its momentum at the modern retail but modern trade only contributes in single digit %s to the overall sales of many brands and will continue to do so for years to come. Kirana outlets will be the main stay of Indian Marketing. Unless shopper marketing programs cater to the kirana stores, shopper marketing as a practice will not able to make any real impact in the Indian market place. This fact is well reflected in the words of Mr. Vijay Singh, Managing Director, 141 Sercon who says “Brands cannot afford to look away from traditional trade; it is this sector which allows brands to operate with fair margins while not creating and pushing private labels. Brands need to put in certain amount of investment in some form of experiential marketing or shopper marketing as a part of their last mile communication that facilitates conversion and this makes brands invest in ‘point of sale elements’. This investment is then justified by the number of footfalls that will be achieved in the given premises where the elements have been deployed and by setting up monitoring points to know the result that the implemented elements provide. This is how shopper marketing programs are deployed and measured, thus the modern trade environment being conducive to this set up becomes an ideal environment for conducting shopper marketing. But that does not mean that brands have to ignore the traditional trade. Strengthening this aspect Mr. Rahul Saigal, Vice President, Ogilvy Action says “Conventionally what a lot of companies do is that they take up signage, they take up danglers, wobblers, product display windows etc. Which traditionally are all clubbed under the in-store visibility, or clubbed under signage, and for most companies it comes under the purview of trade marketing vertical. But if you are anyway investing in signage, in product windows, then what stops you from using the science.” Adding on the same lines he says “What is shopper marketing at the end of the day it is that the message brands are communicating and this message that brands carry should have some logic. And the logic brands use cannot be the same that is used for TV or print. That logic has to be as functional as possible; basically the objective needs to be very simple, that if brands have only one element and with that one element they are trying to close the sale then they cannot go about trying to do everything, they need to be very focused in their approach.” Taking it to the next level and giving further meaning he says “I think right now what people do is they just try to make it look good, try to look at the aesthetics, they use a lot of corporate branding but you are not talking about the benefits you are not talking about anything at all. You are not giving in information when needed. So I think there is a huge role to be played by shopper...
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