1 PLACE IN PHARMACEUTICALS/ PERMANENT NOMINATION
Today we are witnessing large-scale changes in the process of interaction between brands, retail outlets and the consumer. The development of mobile technologies and their deepening into the daily life of each of us leads to the fact that, on the one hand, the borders between the offline and online worlds are becoming more and more blurred, and on the other hand, our life is becoming more open, and therefore honest.
Thanks to our smartphones, wide wi-fi coverage and high speed Internet access, we are almost always online, while continuing to actively live offline. At the same time, the active use of social networks and mobile applications leads to the fact that any of our actions become as transparent as possible for others. And this is true both for communication with friends or business partners and the entertainment industry, as well as for shopping.
These processes have already led to the completely new type of buyers who wants to be communicated with the same level of openness and honesty that they themselves are doing. By connecting with this new consumer, showing respect for their needs and providing them with what they enjoy, brand companies and retailers take giant steps forward in terms of additional value. Leading global brands and retailers are already aware of these opportunities, which means that in the next 5-7 years there will be a global change in brand, retailer and shopper communications.
Observations of consumers in Europe, the US and Russia have revealed a rapidly growing group of so-called smart-shoppers - buyers with a high need to search, exchange and compare information about their available goods and services. Despite what analysts name different proportions of such consumers, their high and growing activity in social media speaks for itself.
Consumers in this group don't just search the Internet for the best deals. They use social networks and various mobile applications to record their preferences and purchases on-time, interact with brands that reflect their values, and express their loyalty. Only one thing has remained unchanged - the pleasure that these consumers experience from making purchases in offline retail outlets, not counting, of course, socialization, including online.
Combining the enjoyment of traditional shopping with the active use of mobile technology to make smarter choices is the key differentiator for smart consumers. This group is growing and starting to change the laws of the market.
The main values of smart-shoppers are honesty and openness on the part of the brand and the seller, self-respect and the ability to receive personalized offers online while shopping offline. For these consumers, the line between online and physical shopping has already disappeared, and they are waiting for brands and retailers to switch to their own rules of the game.
Moreover, the world's largest players are already aware of this need and are ready to invest in opportunities to be as open and honest as possible. The proof is the investment "boom" that has emerged in recent years in the field of projects focused on smart buyers and the analysis of their needs.
So, back in 2011, a deal was made to buy eBay from Where, a developer of geolocation applications for iOS, Android and BlackBerry. Where's products include a range of mobile apps, including a collective discount service. Brand companies could place ads that were shown only to customers who were nearby. And a year later, eBay launched a mobile product test that allows you to find the best deals depending on your location and explore the products presented in nearby stores.
Also in 2011, Salesforce.com committed over $300 million to purchase Radian6, a service that provides companies with real-time monitoring of social networks, blogs, and forums. Oracle quickly responded with the purchase of Vitrue, which provides distribution of promotional messages through the same social networks.
From the latter - the same Salesforce.com investment in Domo, which develops a cloud-based business intelligence system for processing data from a variety of sources; doubling PayPal's investment in mobile payments; development and launch of the Amazon Flow application for iOS, which, when pointing a smartphone camera at a product, redirects the user to the order page on the online store website, and there are already many other striking examples where the investment is already in the billions.
Companies are ready to fight for the opportunity to be as open as possible with their consumers and provide them with the best price offers and information about their products and services through mobile communication channels. And this trend will only intensify.
Communicate with each customer individually, offering him exactly those goods and services that meet his needs here and now, provide the necessary information right at the time of making a purchase decision ... At first glance, it may seem that such level of interaction with the consumer in an offline outlet unattainable. In fact, brand companies and retail already have all the necessary resources for this.
First, the largest brand companies in the world already have a sufficient knowledge base about their consumers. The level of CRM today is really high. Secondly, the mechanics of observing and analyzing consumer behavior are just as highly developed and, no less important, widespread: face recognition technologies, counting the number of buyers at each outlet, and others have become commonplace. Thirdly, the system itself for providing the consumer with the opportunity at the time of making a purchase decision to compare information about different products of the same group, choose the best price offer or the most suitable related product has already been formed and functions perfectly in the field of e-commerce.
The next step is the integration of these capabilities, which will lead to the brand-retailer-consumer interaction reaching a new level.
The future starts today
How do I see this interaction in 5-7 years? The Consumer is already coming to the fore, namely, his Essence at the moment of making a decision to purchase. His values, preferences, purchase history, affiliation and connections with certain social groups, even the mood at the moment - this is what will become the basis for personal offers from brand companies and retailers.
Applications on smartphones or other "smart" gadgets will become the main channel for broadcasting these offers and any other useful information about goods or services that he can receive on-time right at the moment of making a decision. Launching such an application at the entrance to a shopping center or convenience store will become a kind of “door” to a personal “room” that the consumer can open to brand companies and their offers if they want.
Digital solutions that allow customers to access mobile applications, send relevant information and track consumer reactions will replace traditional POSM. And their important component will be the ability to create a wide range of “on-time” analytics for brand companies and retailers based on the collected data, which will significantly increase the efficiency of sales management.
Moreover, the markets already know examples of the first steps in this direction. In 2010, SapientNitro developed and launched the Ionos platform for airports, providing passengers with a wide range of useful information, including flight data, maps, and special offers from merchants located on the territory of the airport. Last year, Marks & Spencer announced the introduction of interactive sales assistants. The new technology recognizes the items of clothing that the customer takes to the fitting room, after which tips on creating their own style and the possibility of buying additional accessories are displayed on special mirrors.
Tesco, Target and other global companies already have similar projects, and every year there are more and more of them. So the future is really just a step away from us. By expanding such solutions and translating them into everyday practice, it is possible, without exaggeration, to revolutionize the consumer market.
The benefits for each side are clear
The consumer, while maintaining the pleasure of offline shopping, receives all the benefits of online trading, including favorable price offers, individual tips and the ability to choose from the products of those brands that are close and interesting to him.
Brand companies strengthen consumer loyalty, get the widest range of customer behavior analytics and the ability to instantly respond to a drop in demand for certain categories of goods.
Retailers, on the one hand, increase their attractiveness in the eyes of smart consumers by offering them what they value most: the pleasure of shopping, a personalized approach and the most complete product information. On the other hand, they get access to analytical reports, managing interaction with both consumers and brands.
The most progressive brand companies and retailers have already begun to move towards openness, and hence honesty, launching both interactive activities for their consumers and their own mobile solutions. Well, the actual process of completing the integration of mobile technologies for interacting with consumers and solutions for collecting and analyzing data about their preferences and values, including momentary ones, is a matter of the very near future, which means that in 5-7 years the consumer goods market will live on these new laws: openness and honesty.