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Forecasting shopper marketing trends for 2013: Mike Anthony

By Dipanjan Mukherjee | March 06, 2013

Mike Anthony, CEO of Engage gives us perspective on what the retail industry and Shopper Marketing in particular can look forward to in 2013.

I met with a retail colleague for a drink yesterday, and we both agreed that this was a really exciting time to be working in the consumer goods industry - possibly the most exciting time ever - whether you worked for a manufacturer, a retailer, or a service provider. Never before has an industry been under so much pressure from so many angles. Things are most definitely going to change - the only questions are which changes will be most significant, and when will they occur?

Whilst crystal ball gazing is far from a science, I'm pretty confident that all of these trends will occur: whether they happen in 2013 or a little later may be up for debate. But here we are - this is what the industry, and shopper marketing in particular, can look forward to in 2013

More online and mobile hype

If you were to believe what is written it would be impossible to find a shopper who wasn't using their mobile phones and consulting their social network over most of their purchases. It is hype: even in advanced markets like the US ninety percent of shopping takes place in a bricks and mortar store (source Forrester Research). The hype will continue, and online shopping will continue to grow, and for some companies, targeting specific shopper segments, this will genuinely be important. The majority of marketers however should focus on getting it right in offline stores.

Big retail will find it hard but will respond

Not all big retailers will struggle, but some will. Watch some retailers exit from non-profitable or non-strategic markets as they focus on building real value in their important markets. Expect increases in service, staff training, and investments in store environments. Expect too that retailers will continue to demand more and more fees from their suppliers to fund this. 

Discount madness will continue

Whilst times are getting tough for many manufacturers, don't expect pity from retailers. Desperation on both sides of the manufacturer retailer divide will drive more price discounts. In some markets the percentage of products on promotion in a typical hypermarket already top 40% - expect that to continue to increase.

More data, not necessarily more insight

Data availability will increase: more data from social, online shopping, and retailer loyalty cards - you name it - Big Data has it. Yet, outside the very largest of organizations, marketing and insight teams are barely coping with creating insight from their current data sets: more data does not necessarily mean more insight. Expect those that get it right to tiled significant competitive advantage from their data sources: expect the rest to just find themselves with more databases, more bills to pay, and no new insight as a result. 

Shoppers will polarize

Shoppers are all different, and treating them as a homogenous bunch has always been daft, but it will get dafter. Shoppers have more choices, and more demands to meet, than ever before. As retailers become more niche (just think of all the online offers), then the ability (and the need) to segment effectively becomes paramount. Companies which can effectively segment their shoppers, and map them onto channels will reap the rewards: enabling more tailored marketing mixes, and hopefully stepping away from all the mass discounting that goes on.

The Shopper Marketing Revolution 

Shopper Marketing has been a buzz phrase in the industry for a long time, but there is still yet to be a definitive text that explains what it is, why it is important, how to do it and critically how it should be integrated into the marketing lexicon. Welcome then "The Shopper Marketing Revolution” written by myself with shopper expert Toby Desforges, which will be available from April this year.

Lots will happen in the world of shoppers, and many of the trends are continuations of what we have seen this year. There will be more pop-up stores, virtual stores, and more online offers. Companies will continue to experiment with formats, and data, and unfortunately continue discounting. Maybe a few people will read "The Shopper Marketing Revolution” and decide to change the way they market forever. I hope so!


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