Ankit Ajmera

<B><FONT COLOR="#FF0033">GoaFest 2007:</FONT></B> Don’t entertain; engage your consumer in-store placements

Maureen Johnson, independent retail consultant and chief executive officer, The Store, discussed the factors that drive in-store advertising as a medium to communicate to the consumers

With the growing number of retail outlets in the country, in-store placements slowly gaining its importance in the media plan. This is also why the organisers got Maureen Johnson, independent retail consultant and chief executive officer, The Store, WPP’s global retail practice, to address the delegates on the second day of Goafest 2007.

She educated the audience with her observations from her experience on what one should take care of while doing in store placements.

She said that in-store advertising works only when the advertising content conveyed at the right place and at the right time. Identifying the right audience is also very important, and one should be careful about placing the content in the right department within the store, and should e directed towards the right consumers. She cited the example of the deodorant brand Axe which effectively used the in store placement to announce its launch in the US, three years ago. The company although word of mouth to announce its entry, but in store placement was integral part of its media plan. The company tied up with the retail outlet to run commercials inside the store, and the entire initiative turned out to be very successful.

Johnson also mentioned that the selection of advertising content is also very important for impactful in-store promotions. If the criterion, in terms of whether communication is to be directed towards building a brand or to generate sales of to increase brand recall, is defined prior to formulating a communication plan then putting message across to the target audience becomes simpler.

<B><FONT COLOR="#FF0033">GoaFest 2007:</FONT></B> Don’t entertain; engage your consumer in-store placements
Maureen Johnson
Johnson argued if ‘narrowcasting’ could be the way forward for in-store advertising. The most crucial factor to be kept in mind to create impact through narrowcasting is the enrichment of message. The message should be new and fresh and should create value for the consumer. For example – The Pick n Pay retail stores in South Africa have created idiosyncratic channels that dispel information to only to the specific audience of a particular section. The channels include TV screens for departments such as butchery, FMCG, personal care, bakery and baby care. In fact the store has one of the screens specifically dedicated to display a welcome message to the customers at the entrance.

Apart from TV screens there are lots of other mediums that go in creating an integrated in-store campaign. Besides the normal digital careen, Johnson felt that the provision of live support which is actually a substitute of a human salesman can also work very well. These also include live screen experts giving the required advice to the customer about the product. Other activities include the usage of screens which display the upper part of a model’s body which can be used by customers to place dresses on it for trial purposes.

Johnson said that holograms are also an upcoming medium of in-store display. One of the Nike stores had used the hologram of a female model which looked very life like and was programmed to change and put on dresses for display to customers.

Johnson explained that in-store promotions shouldn’t deviate by leading to entertain the consumer instead of engaging them. For in-store promotions to be effective, the shopper should be kept keep him informed and shopping made easy for him by helping him make better decisions and reminding him of thing which he has forgotten. She says that there is no point in adding to the clutter by just piling up more and more screens until they serve the right purpose. One of the examples of engaging the consumer she gave was of juice packets that were placed with breakfast items in a cubicle at a store. This placement promoted the habit of drinking of juice in the morning while having breakfast.

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