Maximise learnings for great shopper experiences
By Nabamita Chatterjee | June 16, 2015
Everything today is intertwined. Andy Lew of Ace Turtle shares his views on making that intertwining most effective and to provide the most efficient omni-experience as possible.
Ace Turtle, the Bangalore-based technology company, is leveraging its vast experience in retail and technology to deliver a wide range of e-commerce solutions including omni-channel retail. Their omni-channel commerce, multichannel retailing and digital marketing solutions are delivered through its technology platform which includes web store design, imagining and catalogue management, logistics management, customer support, and integrated payment solutions. Ace Turtle enables brick & mortar retailers to leverage online retail channels and unlock the potential offered by omni-channel retailing to ensure a seamless consumer experience through all available channels, i.e. mobile devices, desktop computers, brick and mortar stores, e-commerce channels and similar. These solutions are getting leveraged by brands and retailers to deliver a consistent brand experience across online, mobile and in-store channels.
Andy Lew, one of the leading business & retail consultant with experience in implementing strategy to build high profile businesses in Greater China, Asia Pacific and the United States, has joined the board of Ace Turtle. In conversation with Nabamita Chatterjee of Point-of-Purchase, Andy Lew shares the some of the very important aspects of shopper marketing and how they are leveraged by the retail industry for their growth. Edited excerpts.
What are the new research methods in tracking shopper marketing behaviour in India? Do you see shopper marketing strategies changing against the backdrop of rapidly evolving retail businesses?
Yes, without a doubt the strategy is definitely changing dramatically. We at Ace Turtle are promoting Hook - our proximity marketing platform that uses beacon technology. This solution is being sought after by large malls across India and is being implemented by us. Beacon technology allows you to understand where the customer stops, what windows they look at, what products they pick up, whether they pick up this shirt, that tie or dress and so on. It is much different from what we had yesterday where you had traffic counters to count how many people came into your shop, or how many people came into the mall and which way did they walk in the mall and so forth.
Besides Beacon technology, there will be the involvement of true omni-channel and we are focusing on it. There is also the "click and pick upâ€ or "order in store and delivered at your homeâ€ and so the whole experience of being connected to the customer both online and offline, either via a mobile device, a laptop or tablet.
Are brands and retailers considering these research insights as strategic inputs for their shopper marketing programmes / initiatives?
Yes, not only brands but also shopping malls have started looking at it to learn together and maximise these learnings to create the best consumer experience possible.
How important are in-store branding initiatives in the context of shopper marketing?
I believe that in-store is very critical. In the end, I know I have talked about the omni-channel experience that will outweigh everything but I believe that the customer today, whether in India or elsewhere in the world needs to have many touch points. They are getting text messages, they see billboards, they see something on a train, they read magazines, they see light boxes and they walk by a store. There are so many touch points where you can reach your customer, but when doing it in-store it is most important to have the brand initiatives be more personalised.
In a diverse country like India, do findings in one market have relevance in other markets?
It is not only what you learn from India, or what you find in the UK or Japan. What you learn in any market, applies globally. The world is smaller every day and customer behaviour is very similar and like I said earlier, there are so many touch points to reach your customer and what you learn from that is critical. We learn from everyone, from everywhere and I believe we want to bring some of those global learnings back to India and obviously what I learn from India, I will take back to my other businesses as well.
Are global shopper marketing strategies applicable in Indian markets? What are the similarities and dissimilarities in the shopper behaviour in India and overseas?
Yes and no. I believe that each customer is different in every nation and that the halo effect of any brand strategy or any corporate strategy is very important. The Indian consumer will appreciate the power of any global brand and how they speak to them, yet they want to be spoken to as a peer across the world and be respected in that sense. But often you will see that there are differences in an American customer versus an Australian customer per se. So I think that over-arching global strategies are important but you should also have signature localised marketing as well. The needs are to be balanced.
I'd say that the similarities are that every customer at a personal level wants to have good customer service. They want to be engaged and they want to feel part of the process. I would say that the dissimilarities in Indiais a very price conscious mentality and there is a heavy league of promotional activity so the behaviour of the customer is constantly changing in relation to this.
Are POP solutions innovative in India or is this leading to more clutter in the stores?
I don't know if it is leading to more clutter. It is dependent on the size of the store, the number of shoppers and if they have stuff everywhere but if a brand is thinking about the shopper and about servicing or engaging them, then it is important. As in many things Indians have been innovative about technology and I am assuming they will continue to be that way.
Is technology being used effectively for real time tracking of shopper behaviour?
Without a doubt, and Beacon technology is all about real time. Obviously, how you pay and different platforms to pay or your phone that connects you to banking, swiping etc. is real time and to understand what they are purchasing and how they are purchasing will be studied to understand the customer better.
It is new technology and how it will be maximised in the future is unknown, but that is the way it is going. There are also other things such as connecting social media to your transactions, so maybe you see commercials or if you just bought something and uploaded it and had 20 people like it on either your Facebook or your Instagram. So we are seeing the use of technology in understanding the customer and social media for outreach as well.
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