Are elections merely failed shopper marketing?

Researcher Kantar polled 6,000 main shoppers from its 30,000 strong panel to find out voting intentions and feelings on the economy. Combining this research with its political and social expertise has allowed Kantar to uncover the bigger picture behind voting intentions!


Robot Shoppers driven by background?

UKIP voters over index on British foods, preferring English breakfast tea, white bread, English cheese, sprouts and Empire apples. Those voting Labour like wholewhite bread, turkey and chilli, whereas Conservatives enjoy ground coffee, wheatgerm bread and avocados.

On the other hand people who say they intend to vote for the Greens have the lowest BMI and are most concerned about health issues (Do inhabitants of Brighton recognise themselves here). They also have the most eclectic shopping basket, preferring fruit and herbal teas, French cheese and mangoes. Greens and Lib Dems are the most likely voter groups to have cats (30% and 25%), while UKIP supporters prefer dogs (28%). Conservative voters spend the most on groceries per year, £4,437 compared to £3,925 per year for a Labour supporter. SNP, Liberal Democrat and UKIP voters are most likely to shop in a discount store.

Kantar also compared the situation now in the UK to the data it had from just before the last election in 2010. Consumers are now buying more on promotion (40% of our groceries in 2015, compared to 37% in 2010) and buying more private label goods (47.7% now compared to 45.8%). It is a tale of two countries, with 67% of us now shopping in discounters (compared to 54%) and the amount spent in Waitrose increasing from £3.5bn (2010) to £4.6bn (2015). Consumers also buy 3.5bn more calories in a year compared to 2010, which is 116 more calories per voter, per day.

Should you be surprised you are so predictable?

Well, not really. But there is more to learn from this research. People with similar attitudes cluster together. This is why you have constituencies that will go one way – or another. Likewise, they are served by shops that need to flex their range to meet the needs of their core customers (and their service standards!). So Brighton, the Green stronghold should have more fruit and herbal teas, French cheese and mangoes. As well as cat food. They also ought to have more promotion stock on the shelves to meet the additional demand.

Do stores actually respond proactively to their customer needs?

Frankly, about the same as politicians respond to their constituents. There is a great deal of central talk about catering for the needs of the shopper/elector at irregular intervals when it is expedient to be seen to be doing something.

What can brands do, then, to meet local demand properly?

Usefully, there is a considerable amount that can be achieved by direct discussion at store level. Tesco and Sainsbury allow a level of store manager personal choice in what is stocked. If brands know they will sell well in a particular store then there is the chance to – potentially dramatically – improve base ranging. Two RetailVitalStatistics clients have 30% and 60% of their sales going through non-ranged Tesco stores. So those stores where shoppers demand more of a particular brand, are actually getting what they need by local application.

What can electors do to get their views heard?

I’m afraid shopper marketing only works if you have a free choice (such as the single transferable vote) of the same selection everywhere so you really do get what you are paying for. Sadly you turned this down when you were given the chance. From memory the prime reason for this was the fear of a hung Parliament. Which you now have anyway. So what you are likely to have at the end is a free choice of Scottish shortbread voted for by 15% of the shoppers.

At least as shoppers you can impact on what you can see in a store because your local manager actually has some power to satisfy you. Or as brands, you can help your shoppers to what they want. So take satisfaction from that.


What is the opposite of loyalty?

The source of disloyalty

The social media Tesco BrandGram

Marketers talk about loyalty as an independent concept. As in “How many loyalists do you have?”. Or “What are you doing about your loyalty?”

However, Ehrenburg, the author of one of the very few laws in Marketing stated that – with few exceptions – loyalists were a statistical percentage of your total users that varied little between brands. All of which meant that brands (and retailers) should focus more on getting more of the right kind of people buying, and then loyalty looks after itself.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with reminding people who have not bought for a while that you are still there – always provided that you can see a way to making money from the activity. That is to say, reminders, not full scale loyalty programs that suck money away from getting the basics right, and communicating them to new people.

Lets talk Tesco for the moment. The red boxes list the areas that have generated the most social media negative comments (on balance). The closer they are to the middle, the more important they are. Green comments are positives – even Tesco gets positives.

This analysis just pre-dates the implosion, and it accurately outlines the key issues, as well as justifying the actions taken by the new CEO. Reducing sku count will make availability a little easier to manage, and putting front end staff in place will help to improve the dire image of their staff.

If you want to see exactly what the underlying figures are, try the Loyalty Balance Sheet, which shows you exactly where customers report they have issues. Also where the opportunities lie.  The figures are a much more exact expression of the “Ultimate Question” by Reicheld – would you recommend this to your friend or colleague. In the case of Reicheld you get the figure by asking people if they would. In the case of social media context you get straight to the heart of what they did say.

Tesco Social Media Balance Sheet

The Balance of social media comments – Positive vs Negative – for Tesco

The problem with loyalty is that it is not “independent” and you can’t build it with a “loyalty card”. Oh yes, there is much you can do by knowing more about your core customers – you can get them to buy more, as an example. You can exploit their loyalty. BUT if you want sales growth, and more loyalist, you need more people. More people drawn by keeping your positioning relevant, ensuring that what people talk about is positive, and letting people know about it.

So what then is the opposite of loyalty? Basically it is indifference – indifference on the part of the marketer to the reality of the shopper experience, and the shopper to an irrelevant brand.



Showrooming – death or salvation for bricks and mortar retailers?

One of 43. million people

One of 43.4 million people by 2017

In the rush to condemn shoppers having the temerity to use their smartphones in stores commentators have forgotten one basic fact.

By 2017 Statista estimate that 43.4 million people will have a smartphone in the UK

That means the vast majority of people walking through the door will have one in their pocket or bag. Looking to the future, around half of smartphone users plan to increase their range of activity. Meanwhile only 10% plan a decrease of any kind. Leading to store owners seeing many more people face to screen down their aisles. Research carried out by RVS in conjunction with ResearchBods shows that those people who are showrooming tend to make a buying decision in the first stores they get to. In fact out of 1000 people, only 34% said they would buy an alternative product online or in another store – or not buy at all. Showroomers are, therefore, exactly the kind of people you want in your store; They have committed to spend time on a purchase They are committed to a purchase mission (in fact they report only 12% of the time they go home without buying) They have not bought YET since if they had, they would not be there They are active and knowledgeable.

Overall being in a store to showroom was expected to lead to a purchase in that store 56% of the time, while the buy elsewhere option was only recorded 22% of the time. Being a second choice store definitely has its drawbacks.

The question, then for retailers is, as there are going to be so many, and so important, how can you make sure you are the first store they visit – and then the one they buy at.

Perhaps the first things a retailer can do is to

  1. Be Showrooming friendly – WiFi has no real cost, but a good signal saves the phone charges, and will help to persuade people to stay, and not go.
  2. Offer incentives for people to buy from your range there and then. One obvious one, and top of the list in research is to offer free home delivery if they buy a product to be home delivered from within your stores. Given that 61% of people quoted lack of availability in a store as a reason for not buying it is easy to see there is a mutual benefit here – you can manage your stock better, and they get what they want more often in your store.

To offset people shopping from home, you can count on 6 million people by 2017 in the UK to be heavy smartphone-in-store users, or use quite often for showrooming. This sector represents people willing to travel to your store to try and, potentially, buy. As such they are people you would want to encourage to offset those people quite happy to sit at home and order from cloud destinations. You would want to encourage them back again, to the extent of offering these people direct incentive not available to your normal on-line shoppers. The kind of incentive they look for will vary – but you would want to give some consideration to non-price alternatives such as coffee, or a free magazine of their choice to bring them back on a monthly basis. RVS publish a list of the importance of incentives in general, although this does vary dramatically for different socio-economic types (see tables) Price is clearly important – but getting alternative pricing that counts against you does not necessarily mean that they will leave.  Bricks and Mortar shoppers value the experience of being in your store – or at least they ought to. The key reasons they give for buying in a particular store is headed by the store environment, and the quality of your staff in delivering re-assurance on the day – and in the event of a post-purchase issue. Interestingly, the drivers for showrooming are exactly those for loyalty in our first white paper – staff attitude and store trust. Product availability, the second important loyalty measure crops up as a key reason for leaving, as opposed to one for staying. Showrooming represents yet one more sales opportunity – but only for retailers who are first choice. The age of all day shopping around in person, in a variety of stores is coming to an end. In it’s place is people shopping for the experience, but expanding their choices as they are doing so. Retailers not heading the shopping list are not in it.

Showroomers Download white paper here