Aug 07, 2015

Shopper Measurement and Engagement, a New Frontier- Part 1

By Bill Martin

This is the first of several blogs dealing with how Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) manufacturers can capture and use data with smart POP displays with their retail partners. Watch an animated video here

For the last 20 years, I have worked on measuring in-store consumer foot traffic at ShopperTrak, a company I co-founded in 1995.  Today I have a deep desire to engage the shopper more effectively in partnership with retailers and CPGs to build relationships that benefit the entire commerce ecosystem. 

What we’re trying to accomplish:

  • Create a two way data path which links branded and new product manufacturers with the consumer through POP displays and signage strategically placed in the retail environment
  • Engage the consumer on their personally carried devices while in the store
  • Create a clear roadmap for CPG’s and retailers to drive more sales

In-store missing metrics are highlighted in this chart (Exhibit 18) from a Grocery Manufacturer’s Assn. and Booz & Company study. 

Consumer Packaged Goods companies have wanted data on traffic, dwell time, and sales lift from their Point of Purchase Displays for years. Over the last 4 years great strides have been made to build a link that not only can deliver relevant content directly to the consumer but can also capture data that can verify display set up, measure proximity traffic and analyze consumer interactive behavior metrics.

What makes it possible now to capture this missing data?

The path to these metrics began with the introduction of smart, personally carried devices (iPhone, etc.) and will evolve over the next decade to smarter and wearable devices which carry a treasure trove of new data about consumer likes and dislikes.
Nielsen reported in September 2014 that 71.4% of Americans 18 and older own smart phones. The Economist reported recently: “Today two billion phones are in use worldwide, and this number is expected to double by the end of the decade.”

Data in the article shows that  “1) smartphone use by a younger demographic is 50% of the day, versus 35-54 year demographic at about 25%, and 2) smartphone use far outstrips TV, PC and Radio use.” The inescapable conclusion is that smartphones are an essential way to reach the younger demographic and that smartphone use far outstrips use of other devices. 

The next question becomes are shoppers using their smartphones in-store?

Adam Silverman of Forrester Research notes that 68% of customers use a mobile device while in a store. Clearly, if you want to reach and connect with your shopper, you going to have to add mobile to your repertoire. Forrester has shown that the role of mobile has shifted from a peripheral one to a central one for customer experience. 

It is true that the browser on a PC is still important and relevant. But, Benedict Evans created a stir at the WSJD conference in a presentation titled “Mobile is Eating the World” with comments such as: 

  • More time is spent in mobile apps than on all of the web
  • Children 11-15 would miss mobile and a tablet more than a PC, a Games console, or a TV set (if taken away)

We’d all have to agree that today’s shoppers are tech and mobile-savvy. 

What else is required to capture missing data? 

A meshing of mobile, sensors, social media, data and location

Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s book, The Age of Context notes that “five forces are changing your experience as a shopper: mobile, social media, data, sensors and location. They are now enjoying an economic sweet spot…Rapid adoption is driving prices down, which in turn drives more adoption, which in turn completes the cycle by driving prices down further.  

Soon technology aptly fitted to displays and signs will offer key performance data on placement, effectiveness and quantity of interactions that will change the way we think of point of purchase strategies.

Peter Drucker’s timeless wisdom is appropriate here:

“If you can't measure it, you can't improve it.”

In our next blog, we’ll review how CPG’s and retailers will begin to take advantage of this new link to deliver content, verify display placement, and measure traffic, dwell time.