Posts Tagged ‘shopper’

Whether it’s when buying clothes, food or cosmetics, shoppers are learning a cool new buzzword, says Jasmine Gardner…

Surely, you are conscious if you are reading this. However, here we are talking about buying “conscious”, eating “conscious”, dressing “conscious”. In the worlds of fashion, food and cosmetics, conscious means far more than just aware and responsive. More specifically, it means that you are ethically and environmentally aware. It is the new way for brands to show they have a social and environmental conscience.

For example, H&M launched its 2012 Conscious Clothing collection – an eco-friendly fashion line made using organic cotton and recycled polyester, with styles that have already been worn by celebrities including actresses Michelle Williams, Kristin Davis and Amanda Seyfried. The famous brand has decided that “Conscious” will be the name it gives to all of its work on creating a future of sustainable fashion.

“Sustainability is very much about being provident with the Earth’s resources and recognising how people and the environment are affected by our operations. Hence the name ‘Conscious’ is a natural choice,” says an H&M spokesperson. Of course, just recognising is not enough to be truly “conscious” in that you need to know about the impact of your actions and accordingly buy the good stuff.

“We offer our customers a permanent range of various ‘conscious products’ with added sustainability value,” says H&M. “Clearly labelled, we make better choice accessible and affordable to all our customers.”

H&M is not the only one at it. The icecream maker, Ben & Jerry’s prides itself on its environmentally and financially sustainable values. Moreover, a few months ago it launched a competition to find new organisations in the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands that are creating new models for sustainable business. At the same time, in the US it is taking part in a project called the Campus Consciousness Tour – a circuit around American universities encouraging students to take action for the environment.

In the cosmetics industry, Kiehl’s, which produces luxury skincare products in recycled and recyclable packaging views itself as a conscious company at the core. “The Mission of Kiehl’s is a tribute to our belief in giving back, in supporting both the local communities in which we serve and the global community in which we live and thrive,” says its UK general manager, Victoria Campbell. As a result, it supports charitable organisations in Aids research, environmental conservation and supports children and communities.

“The words ‘ethical’ and ‘eco’ have gone out of fashion”

But if what all these companies mean is that they are ethical, environmentally friendly or sustainable, why do they choose “conscious” instead of just saying so?

“There are a couple of factors at play,” says Camilla Grey at branding consultancy Moving Brands. “First, we’ve moved into a new phase where being ethical and eco is integrated into our lives – it is embedded into our psyche. As a result, people now see themselves ‘conscious’. Secondly, [the words] ‘ethical’ and ‘eco’ have gone out of fashion. They imply a certain aesthetic – ‘knitted muesli’ as Mary Portas used to describe it. No matter how hard brands tried, they never could shake off that image. ‘Conscious’ gives them a bit more room to break free from all the white, green and hessian weave.”

Many brands — especially brands in FMCG categories — distinctly and increasingly day by day realize the fact that decision-making powers of shoppers in household consumption have increased much more than they have ever been. Even in the categories not imagined, this vital target group has a significant impact on purchasing decision. Recently, this power of shoppers has been realized in the world of electronic commerce. So nowadays, this price-responsive, fastidious group has the ear of many brands appearing in e-commerce.

To intervene in the moment of making “purchasing decision” becomes more and more difficult as well as being instructive regardless of which sales channel. The number of alternative products increases day by day. The hundreds of marketing messages aim to benefit from each opportunity by using all available channels.

On the other hand, these messages confuse the minds of consumers and the concept of brand loyalty are in the death agony. So intervening in the moment of truth is regarded as the most important issue of marketing. Those above are the reasons why the concept of shopper marketing (shopper-oriented marketing) has come into prominence in recent years and become the fastest growing marketing field in the world.

First, let’s look at the concept of shopper marketing by answering the question: Who is defined as “shopper”? According to the shopper marketing report published in 2007 by Deloitte, shopper is defined as an individual that is in the mood of shopping (or in the act of shopping). Even most of the time, shopper is not the same person as consumer. For example, a mother who is looking for a baby food is a shopper and her baby is a consumer.

From this point of view, shopper marketing is defined in many ways. According to the definition in Wikipedia, shopper marketing is “understanding how one’s target consumers behave as shoppers, in different channels and formats, and leveraging this intelligence to the benefit of all stakeholders, defined as brands, consumers, retailers and shoppers.” Considering the cause and effect relationship between shopping process and purchasing decision, marketing professionals try to find solutions that induce purchasing and to remove the obstacles in front of purchasing by reading shopper’s mind.

Well, where is e-commerce that subjects to our story in this equation of shopper marketing? We can answer this question considering other questions. For instance, when was the last time you received a private letter from your post box? Or when was the last time you specified a place by looking at an atlas? Most probably, internet that has such a big impact on our practices in daily life will change our shopping patterns in a similar way. Maybe we will be asking the question: When was the last time you bought a laptop computer from an electromarket?

In parallel with the rapid increase in internet usage as a channel, e-commerce has become not only an indispensable part of our daily life practices but also an important tool of shopping. Millions of internet users prefer online shopping according to 2011 comScore Turkey report. Here this online capacity attracts attention of shopper marketing professionals as well as media planners, advertisers.

In recent years, a new front has been rising in the intersection point of two important trends, namely shopper marketing and e-commerce. Your colleague forwarding a discount e-mail from a website; your spouse sharing a notice via e-mail about holiday places; your friend priding himself/herself on getting the products of his/her favorite team on the cheap thanks to the notices in social networking sites such as twitter, facebook compose the target group of this new front.

There is no doubt that digital world has very different features compared to traditional one. It changes so fast. Consumers, who have unlimited access to information, want to be a part of dialogue instead of one-way communication. In order to be successful in e-commerce, brands/companies should revaluate e-shoppers, understand their diversifying expectations and enrich communication opportunities offered by online channels with shopper marketing plans. Since it is possible to make comparisons of price, quality, product features with millions of other products in a few seconds; consumer comments and bestseller list hold key for purchasing decision.

Shortly, e-commerce is growing rapidly and increasingly. In this new world order, brands and companies should try to get a bigger share of this cake by improving product presentation, information system, promotions, visuality, pricing, post-sales services. Furthermore, shopper-oriented communication should be diversified, customized and developed.