Home » Consumers Find Value In Technology-Based And Traditional Marketing But Demand ‘Return Engagement’
Marketing News National

Consumers Find Value In Technology-Based And Traditional Marketing But Demand ‘Return Engagement’

A consumer panel discussion during the 2014 Inmar Forum, hosted by Winston-Salem, N.C.-based technology company Inmar, brought out commentary from the panelists confirming the increased use of technology to enhance the shopping experience as well as the desire among shoppers for more personal, relevant engagement from retailers (grocery stores, pharmacies and mass merchandisers) and brands (both food and non-food CPGs).

The tools used by the panelists to assist and speed their shopping, as well as the preferred form and format of the desired engagement, varied as much as the personalities and backgrounds of the eight panelists themselves. The panel members, who ranged in age from 19-71, all spoke to their use of the internet to search for product information and availability, price comparisons, coupons and other savings opportunities. However, while smartphones and apps where the preference of some, newspapers, Sunday circulars and direct mail were all acknowledged as having real value and a definite place in the pre-trip planning process.

At the same time, the collective message from this group of cost-conscious, self-described “savvy shoppers” was that outreach from marketers had to align with their demonstrated wants and needs. Random or “hard sell” techniques were not effective in moving them to trial or purchase. If they had an interest, the panelists would voluntarily engage with a retailer or brand—but with the expectation that the “return engagement” would deliver information and offers of immediate, obvious value.

These behaviors and preferences closely align with findings from a recent shopper behavior survey conducted by Inmar Analytics in which more than 1,000 consumers were asked about how and where they shop. Among this group, 80 percent responded that they looked online for coupons to use in store, while 76 percent said they used the internet to plan where they would make their purchases.

Survey participants, on average, used 6.43 means for discovering and acquiring coupons—including both traditional media and digital sources. This same, multi-source search for savings was common practice among the forum panelists who spoke of using newspapers, retailer and manufacturer websites, apps and coupon blogs when looking for coupons and discount opportunities.

When asked about physical shopping, the panelists provided a consistently brief, and frequently repeated, list of retailers in the grocery, mass and drug chains where they shopped in store. However, when queried as to their online shopping habits, the lists grew much longer, with some panelists identifying a dozen or more sites where they shopped. One panelist did admit to “showrooming” but it did not appear to be a common practice among the group.

In discussing the depth of their interaction with companies, most of the panel participants said they were willing to share some personal information with both brick and mortar retailers as well as online providers in order to receive promotions. However, many employed a second email address to receive offers and information, keeping that communication separate from what they described as more “personal” email.

Whatever their particular level of engagement, the panelists were consistent in their expectations of quality service, both in store and online. Ready availability of product information, easily accessible and personally delivered offers, direct and prompt customer service, assurance of product quality and ease of return where all cited as reasons the panelists remained loyal to both retailers and brands.

The panelists also said that they would travel further to those retailers who provided superior customer service, especially when it came to retail pharmacy. Those panelists speaking to their experience in this area voiced that personal attention, close consultation with the pharmacist and the availability of information relative to medication and patient care were the primary decision drivers—having much greater influence than either cost or convenience.

“What we heard from these shoppers is first-person verification of our research findings,” said Inmar Chairman and CEO David Mounts. “Our data show that companies must truly understand their audience and engage with them on a very personal level—and across all media—in order to win their business and retain their loyalty.

“Discounts alone do not guarantee purchase,” he added. “Relevant, timely engagement—both pre-trip and in store—is required to move shoppers to action.”

Not surprisingly, social media also plays a part in the panelists’ shopping experience, as several in the group expressed a willingness to “like” a product or brand on Facebook in order to received promotions. Twitter posts also were identified as influential, but more so when broadcast as informative enticements rather than direct advertisements.

The 2014 Inmar Forum, themed “Beyond Big Data: Knowing and Serving the Customer,” took place March 25-27 and brought together industry professionals from 138 leading healthcare and consumer goods companies, including Kellogg Co., PepsiCo, Novant, Health Inc. and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, to explore how retailers and brands can use big data to realize real results and drive business growth.


Featured Photos

Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap