IGD Conference: “Too many promotions confuse consumers”

Consumers are confused by the plethora of shopper promotions with 44% of them finding it increasingly difficult to compare prices as a result, according to new research unveiled by Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD).

IGD Chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch, speaking at its annual conference, told delegates that the “blizzard” of promotions was confusing to consumers who are trying to tighten purse strings and planning ahead or shopping little and often.

“While it is essential to keep delivering value, there are many ways to do this beyond promotions. For instance, through services that help people to plan their meals, and through bigger incentives for loyalty. The Australian retailer Coles, for example, did this by giving its customers a regular discount of 10% on five products of their own choice every time they spent over AU$50.”

Denney-Finch also told the conference that the retailers needed to evolve their offer to fulfil several needs – as showrooms, distributions points, collection points and recycling centres.

“Small stores will have to keep working harder to have the right range at the right time and with more frequent deliveries to keep shelves full,” she said.

And she stressed the roll new technology would play in the future. “Tomorrow our phones will track our daily activities and intervene to offer us advice. They’ll tell us if a store nearby has a certain product we’ve been hunting for and guide us towards new products that might interest us as we shop. The retail market of the future will be a multi-format and multi-channel one – a mixture of big and small stores – online and offline.”

She also pointed to evolving category management and how it could help retailers grow their sales. “Coca Cola and Kraft helped a Greek retailer to drive a 7% increase in sales by remodelling a store around three shopper missions – main meal, breakfast and snacking, rather than the usual categories.

“Emart in Korea found a particularly novel way to resolve a midday dip in sales, combining the ancient with the new. They built a series of sculpture that act like a sundial, casting shadows to form a QR code between noon and one o’clock. Shoppers can scan in the code to get discounts…delivering a 25% sales uplift during the slow period for Emart.”

Wal Mart and P amp;G had come up with an even more novel solution, she said. Their virtual store on wheels travel around New York displaying QR codes that shoppers can scan for free home delivery.

“This journey from mass market to personalisation is sure to continue.”

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