WPP Global Retail Forum: The Gain Theory Download
Global Retail Forum
The WPP Global Retail Forum is a continuing education opportunity designed for marketers in retail. This year's event featured the likes of Samsung, Dell, and IBM to name a few speaking about key shifts in consumer buying behavior and ways to better connect with today's shopper.
Gain Theory took the ground to download the biggest takeaways to help keep marketers one step ahead and become faster and smarter in the ever-changing retail landscape.
We found that although retailers are often encouraged to throw out their existing playbook, the key message is to think and act differently. Retailers now need to strike a balance between reimagining retail, while not losing sight of basic retail operational truths.
Our team has curated this interactive playbook, so you can take away the major themes.
We hope you enjoy reading it.
Global Retail Forum
Organized by The Store (WPP's Global Retail Practice) the WPP Global Retail Forum is an annual private event for WPP companies and guests. This year's theme, REIMAGINE RETAIL, offered twenty sessions that touched on a range of topics, including private label differentiation, experiential store design, and key shifts in consumer buying behavior.
1. Get Back to Basics
Optimizing existing practice.
2. Be Nimble
Changing things that aren't working.
3. Be Disruptive
Reinventing the norm.
4. Be Kind
Connecting with humans.
5. Future Now
Embracing the next generation.
6. Engaging Today's Shopper
Seeing through the customer's eyes.
Optimize existing practice
Stay focused on conversion, use social to drive sales, and understand the new order; stuff losing share to non-stuff.
Bryan Gildenberg - a world renowned expert in retail insight - took us through rewiring the core “4Ps” of marketing—product, promotion, placement and price—for a new digitally enabled shopper.
- Marketers need to learn to grow in a more fragmented ecosystem where conversion is the most important thing to stay focused on.
- Mobile requires prescription, precision, personalization, and profit. Prioritize mobile strategy, or be left in the dust.
- Promotional effectiveness has gone down; you need to get good at bringing your brand to live where they are spending.
"Things can go wrong, wrong with the content calendar. So start with the audience first."
– Kieley Taylor, Head of Social at Catalyst/GroupM
Kieley Taylor - social marketing guru - told us how to do paid social correctly and outlined actionable tips that drive social ROI.
- In social 2.0, think about your audience first.
- Fill the marketing funnel, not the newsfeed.
- Shift from reactive real-time content to proactive right-time messaging.
Change things that aren't working
Take stock and change things that aren't working, especially as it relates to your customer base.
When product innovation was down, President's Choice had no choice but to turn things around. Cheryl Grishkewich - VP Control Brand Marketing at Loblaw - shared details on the marketing relaunch of Canada’s top private label brand.
- Start with a deep understanding of the customer.
- Understand your mission.
- It's about emotional connections, not just impressions.
- Do something where competitors are unable to replicate.
Alongside event marketing initiatives, they created an aspirational #EatTogether campaign channeling “the power of food to do good." The purpose was not to drive sales, it was a brand image initiative and about their company mission: help Canadians live well.
Reinvent the norm
Algorithms will disintermediate consumers from brands. Understand how to advertise to algorithms to stay one step ahead.
J. Walker Smith - described by Fortune Magazine as "one of America's leading analysts on consumer trends" - believes sensors and algorithms will fundamentally transform purchase behavior and will radically alter retail in the years to come.
- Handheld smart devices, equipped with powerful sensors, are constantly working and communicating so that people are relying on sensors and algorithms to navigate their lives.
- We’re moving from screens to sensors, meaning the control is moving from consumers driving the interaction to algorithms doing so.
- By the year 2020, there will be a smart device for every adult on the planet. We will be in a place where you don't control customers anymore.
"Algorithms will disintermediate consumers from brands, and retailers and marketers will need to figure out how to advertise to algorithms. "
– Bryan Gildensberg, Kantar Retail
Connect with humans
Don't forget the last three feet of the store; show customers that you care.
Jeffery Sears - founder of The Modernist Group - focused on the disruptive force of “Love and Respect” and the human-to-human experience that will be the differentiator in the future.
- To succeed, retailers need to find the intersection of data and human interaction.
- Customers are buying the experience, not the product. If retailers get it right, they will enjoy loyalty beyond reason.
- Retailers need to bravely make a bet on kindness, love and respect toward their customer base and retail associates.
"Brands as we know it, unless you move into this spectrum of love and respect, are going to find themselves obsolete."
– Jeffery Sears, Founder at The Modernist Group
Hermann Behrens - CEO Americas at FITCH - told us how retailers can respond to the core emotions of their consumers, create experiences that are meaningful, memorable, and generous, for a financial impact.
- Based on a piece of research in neuro-economics, studies show that people inherently lean towards being selfish by a five to one ratio.
- The brain is divided into "survival of the fittest" mode vs. altruistic "community minded" mode.
- But what matters to retail, is the experience; giving and taking between the store and the customer.
Retailers can tap into these approaches to create generous experiences:
- Campfires – a space for gathering like-minded (e.g., Rapha, a premium cyclewear brand)
- Theaters – a space that touches the senses (e.g., Starbucks Reserve creates a theater vibe)
- Playgrounds – a space for exploration and learning (e.g., Ford Hub)
Embrace the next generation
Promise of a new era where it is man plus machine.
Fast Company declared in February that "Amazon is the World's Most Innovative Company in 2017."
Jeremi Gorman, Head of Advertising Sales NA, Amazon Media Group at Amazon and Anthony Reeves, Executive Creative Director at Amazon took the stage and spoke about Amazon's commitment to lead through innovation.
- 55% of product searches start on Amazon.
- Amazon used to be a spear fish environment—in and out, but not anymore. Now, it has become a virtual shopping mall.
- With the rise of Alexa, it is increasingly important to become the default brand. Once you are the default brand for a customer’s last order, the Alexa system will default to you even if the order doesn’t specify a brand.
- Brands need to understand that this opportunity space on Amazon is currently wide and is a land grab moment. So get in there first to own a territory.
Ana Pelucarte - Co-Founder of Pop-Up Mob - spoke about the retail pop-up industry and unveiled a new concept called the Samsung Connected Pop-Up, a joint venture that brings Uber-level disruption to retail pop-ups.
- Physical retail is not dead, but it is in need of reinvention.
- Pop-up retail is a $50 billion industry, and the trend is toward a plug-and-play modularity, sophisticated smart technology, and the core and advanced audience measurement.
- Real-time technology will read customer moods and change in-store digital elements in real-time.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
– Maya Angelou
In an exciting panel, Aleka Karachalios, Director of Marketing, Global Creative and Advertising at Dell, shared Dell's upcoming introuction to a store of the future because the only way to stay competitive today is to identify new currencies consumers want and innovate your business model.
- It's important to bring in discovery and learning into the store that customers are looking for, and interconnect all the touchpoints to make the experience seamless.
- The in-store experience needs to be more emotional so it heightens/elevates what people feel about a brand.
Jay Henderson - Director of Watsom Marketing, IBM - added that in order to create amazing experiences for customers, we must promise a new era where man and machine will work together.
Brent Rosso, Vice President of Digital Media at Target, has cracked the code on how to efficiently reach, engage, and convert retail consumers via the Target Guest Access platform comprised of customer data.
- By “unleashing our data science nerds,” the organization is ramping up their capabilities to build decision models for marketing partners.
- The goal to reach, engage and convert retail consumers, seems simple, but Target applies a unique mix of math and art to get there.
- Brent Rosso showed a video of Target influencer and YouTube comedy star Nikki Limo explaining the Target guest mindset. This illustrated how Target believes the intuition of marketing can be married to math (data) to make the art of marketing better and more effective.
"Intuition of marketing can now be married to math to make the art better "
– Brent Rosso, Vice President of Digital Media, Target
See through the customer's eyes
Business as usual will not get us the growth that we are seeking. It's interaction, not transactions that define today's consumer.
A 2016 study by Harris Group found that 72% of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things. Zac Kraemer, Channel Director, Retail & Shopper at VML, spoke about the new mindset-driven shopper who is discerning and has an always-on mentality.
- New Tribe of Shopper Mindset
- Digital First
- Always On
- Think less about marketing, and more about experiences.
- Price is just a consideration point; sell a lifestyle to people who care about design.
Lyle Maltz and Arifa Sheikh, Directors at Kantar Vermeer, walked attendees through a revamp of luxury marketing. Based on research from Harvard Business Review, they identified sixty-six drivers that correlate to customer centricity, and offered a scorecard for consumer-centric growth by identifying the top ten that drive profitable growth.
1) Purpose-led (examples: Shinola; Stella McCartney)
2) Data-driven customization (example: Converse customized sneakers)
3) Touch-point consistency (Burberry cited)
4) Embraced by all (employees live and breathe brand at Chanel)
5) Leadership priority (Zara cited, senior leadership fully bought in on customer centricity)
6) Collaboration (All functions working together to foster consumer centricity. Centricity extends outward with suppliers and partners to embody customer centricity.)
7) Experimentation (Retailers can’t be afraid to fail; H&M cited)
8) Leading role of insights and analytics (many retailers struggle with this)
9) Unlocking the power of data (LinkedIn cited for using data for future forecasting)
10) Critical capabilities needed by insights teams and making sure they have the tools they need.
Todd Szahun, Head of Digital at Geometry Global, spoke about three cultural trends that all retailers should be paying attention to, because they alter how people shop both offline and online.
"Instead of selling to the wallet, sell to the heart. Really tell that story. Focus on touching the heartstrings, and bring that to commerce because it is what people are searching for today."
– Todd Szahun, Head of Digital, Geometry Global
- Convenice: It's about where people live and how they live.
- Connection: It's about interest in experiences. By 2020, consumers, will spend $2 on services for every $1 spent on goods.
- Consciousness: It’s about corporate social responsibility to connect with customers. Todd cited a touching partnership by Philips Norelco with celebrity hairstylists to give homeless men free haircuts, part of their new #BeAwesomeToSomebody campaign, as an example of playing down the brand to tell the story.
Lorenzo Vallone, SVP, Chief Technology Officer at Mirum, explored the evolution of the virtual and augmented reality industry and the opportunities that are emerging for retail and consumer brands.
- Facebook's plan to invest in virtual reality shows how this new technology is the future of shopping.
- Virtual reality can help retailers in category management, shopper research, and activation.
BREAK OUT CHATS
Between sessions, Gain Theory's Jennifer Hahs conducted on-the-ground interviews with a few of the conference's attendees and speakers. See what they have to say about the conference and retail trends, but more importantly, what it takes to evolve.
"You look around and all you see in the headlines is how much trouble brick and mortar is in. And the lesson from that is that disruptors don’t have to take a majority share in the marketplace to overturn established big brands. All they have to do is take a crucial segment of the market."
– J. Walker Smith, Executive Chairman, Kantar Futures
"Retailers have to pull themselves back from the day-to-day and actually think about the consumer but not in a generic way."
– Hermann Behrens, CEO Americas, FITCH
"The future is going to be very fragmented and we are going to have a lot of mom and pop stores. Big box stores are...going to have to descale and become small stores in local areas...locally assorted to consumer preferences. That’s going to be the future."
– Robin Lewis, CEO and editorial director of The Robin Report
"[consumers] being able to use menu planning to drive better experiences at dinner or any meal occasions, will change the way people shop. And things algorithms can do to help make that easier, people will adopt."
– Rebecca Welch, Brand Manager at Butterball LLC
"Consumers…sometimes they want to be wooed and catered to and sometimes they just want to get on with it."
– Chuck Palmer, Retail strategist and blogger @CXChuck