Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Flight From Conversation.

Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and professor at M.I.T wrote this wonderful article in the NYT where she says that we’ve become accustomed to a new way of being “alone together.” Technology-enabled, we are able to be with one another, and also elsewhere, connected to wherever we want to be. We want to customize our lives. We want to move in and out of where we are because the thing we value most is control over where we focus our attention. We have gotten used to the idea of being in a tribe of one, loyal to our own party.

We live in a technological universe in which we are always communicating. And yet we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection. 

At home, families sit together, texting and reading e-mail. At work executives text during board meetings. We text (and shop and go on Facebook) during classes and when we’re on dates. My students tell me about an important new skill: it involves maintaining eye contact with someone while you text someone else; it’s hard, but it can be done.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

etail is retail is etail.

Wonderful as ever. The latest edition from

Mobile and Social Steering Future for CPG.

"We see a merging between social and mobile as two really popular platforms coming together, not only for ecommerce, but also to drive multichannel behavior. It’s just incredibly dynamic, and we’ve really adopted an integrative planning framework that takes into account the consumer journey and how the consumer is using digital channels and platforms. That’s become the driver for how we plan our entire marketing strategy and budget."
It was good to read this interview of Jeff Jarrett, vice president for global digital marketing, as he spoke about the most effective ad formats for consumer packaged goods, and how online CPG sales have required the industry to establish a larger footprint in digital. Read the full interview here where-in he talks on strategies, RoI, impact of mobile & social media and the changing consumer behavior. 

A must read for all FMCG / CPG marketers on how the trends are shaping up.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The evolution of the "path of purchase".

Conventional wisdom has always been that most brand purchase decisions are made in the store. 

But with the new, digitally empowered consumer entering the store better prepared than ever before, is the new reality that most purchase decisions are made at home or on the way to the store?

This wonderful white paper by The Hub seems to suggest that the truth most likely lies somewhere in between.

The white paper goes on to list how can manufacturers ensure that their brands are included in the consideration set and make the final cut. They must identify shopper needs and behaviors at every phase along the path-to-purchase and deliver relevant experiences that shape purchase decisions, from pre-purchase to point-of-purchase, from consumption experience to post-experience reflection.

The consumer’s media consumption methods have changed and therefore the relevance of methods in which a brand can be relevant to them. The 24x7 access to socially connected devices is the single largest factor to change dynamics of marketing. The white paper reemphasizes what we are trying to create with AaramShop – an integration of the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) with the First Moment of Truth (FMOT) of the brand. Read more about it here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Real Paths of Purchase.

The importance of the shoppers' path of purchase is not lost on any brand marketer. If you can get your brand / product in the natural path of purchase of the shopper, more than half the battle is won.

The problem - while everyone understand the importance of the PtoP, establishing an exact path is a very tough exercise. It is made tougher as it would change as per variations in shopper demographic.   

This has often led folks to adopt a more "anecdotal" approach to establishing a path of purchase rather than looking at & relying on empirical data.

AaramShop has been able to accurately map the buying behavior of shoppers and their paths of purchase using the hybrid commerce platform. While what is presented here is an overall P2P of specific category-wide behavior, it is possible to establish this specific to shopper demographics, like age, gender, etc and also to brand specific behavior. 

As illustrated - if you are a brand in the "breakfast cereal category" you are more likely to be bought by buyers of "biscuits & cookies" than by the buyers of "rice, atta, lentils & dals". Make you wonder about brand placement, promos, and lot more.

This intelligence can assist brand marketers to better position / place their products in association to categories, thereby leveraging the consumers natural path of purchase.

You can view the various paths of purchase specific to category in the State of Online Grocery Shopping Report - which you can download from here. 

It is important to clarify that these depict "in-store" path of purchase and not the entire consumers shopping journey. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What is getting into the Shopper's basket in India.

AaramShop has just released the 2nd State of Online Grocery Shopping Report, which takes a deep dive into the shopper's behavior online when shopping for FMCG / CPG brands. The unique report is not based on a sample survey but on the authentic buyer data on the hybrid platform - the consumers shop online via the 1900 AaramShops (neighborhood retailers) across India.

The report can be downloaded in full from here, however some of the significant & unique aspects are worth highlighting and one of them relates to what is being shopped. 

While the men have averaged a spend of Rs. 580/- and the women have averaged Rs. 552/- when shopping online what is significant is that 30% of the expenditure of an online shopper in India is restricted to two categories - "Rice, Atta, Lentils & Dals" (16.81%) and on "Edible Oils" (13.70%)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Where tomorrow‘s customers will place their trust.

One thing is clear: mass marketing has had its day. For decades people have consumed what they learned about through the constant barrage of advertising – and what was available in the shops. Retailers stripped their shelves of everything that only sold occasionally, in order to free up valuable shelf space for the real top sellers.

That is all in the past. In the new online economy of the “long tail”, providers increasingly earn their money with niche products. Thanks to limited costs for storage and for the “showroom”, it is well worth their while to offer the unusual and the quirky as well.

Consumers like niches. They no longer want to be one of the masses; they want to own things that are rare and unusual. Small groups of aficionados grow up – “social networks”, which replace the mainstream as a peer group.

These networks take over the job of communication. Information about “cool” new offers travels round in no time. Providers who want to be noticed in increasingly fragmented markets must therefore make themselves visible in these circles.

The explosion of choice makes heavy demands on consumers. To reduce the flood of information, they go along with a calculated risk: they trust the recommendations and tips of others. They increasingly take decisions for emotional rather than objective, factual reasons.

The Story of Unstoring.

The enD of The ShoP AS We KnoW iT !

One of the first products to be sold on the Internet was a pizza. That was in 1994 and the provider was an international restaurant chain called Pizza Hut. One year later Jeff Bezos took up the idea of online retailing. He started by selling books online on amazon. com. The sales channel faced a wall of scepticism. Who in the world would order books online when they could buy them in a shop? Fifteen years later the answer is clear: lots of people, and more every day. A comparatively young trio of Apple, Google and Amazon are in the process of forcing 500 years of printing and its distribution channels to adopt new business models. This development is already in full swing in the music industry and has the potential to turn conventional retail upside down. The triumphal advance of the Internet and e-commerce is changing the way in which the world gets its information, exchanges views and ideas, and shops. There is no sign that this momentum is about to change. The launch of user-friendly Internet browsers in the mid-1990s triggered the race for ever cheaper and more powerful terminals; since then, the story of retailing has been an ongoing process of steady revision. Bypassing the shop.

Unstoring denotes a development that short-circuits the classic retailer. It is a future that could render shops superfluous – if they refuse to change. The reality is that digital technologies are increasingly part of the real world. The clear distinction between online and offline, between virtual and real, is blurring as the two universes merge. But what will happen to conventional shops when more people use the (virtual) pixel shopping cart than the conventional (real) wire cart? When sales migrate off the retail floor, it is time to reinvent the retail store.

Facebook Considers Adding The Hate Button.

Just imagine the impact on your brand's Facebook centered marketing strategy if you have more "hates" than "likes" on your brand's timeline. 

When the original Like button was announced, Mark Zuckerberg made a bold prediction there would be over 1 billion Likes across the web in just the first 24 hours. Sources at Facebook say Mark is estimating 2 billion Hates on the first day. Facebook studies have shown the sad fact that people hate things on the Internet more than they like things. There’s also an internal debate on whether the new button should be called “Hate” or “Dislike.”

Since the tiny Like button makes up such a huge part of Facebook’s revenue, the introduction of the Hate button could raise Facebook’s valuation further ahead of the IPO.

If FB decides to add the button, then personally I think "dislike" has a better ring to it than "hate".

Read more about the possibilities of hate button here

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Saving Abandoned Brand Mobile Apps.

There’s a graveyard of brand apps that were a little more than a flash in the pan in terms of repeat usage from consumers. And the reason for this is simple. The majority of brand apps serve little or no utility at all to users.

The key, unsurprisingly, is making apps that are based more on long-term utility rather than campaign one-offs. The tradeoff is that true brand platforms require a mix of departments while most brand apps originate from marketing departments and are geared to specific campaigns.

“Utility apps have broken the path for the app world,” said Yvonne Caravia, chief experience officer for Mobients, a mobile design and strategy agency. “People who are on the go want to get stuff done quickly, and having a branded app that provides some sort of utility is a good way to get them coming back over and over again.

A study by Localytics found that just one in four mobile apps are never used again after being downloaded. The same study also found that 26 percent of apps aren’t used more than once.