5 key signs that USA Retailers are starting to adopt a European way of working…

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North American Retailers are more aligned than ever before to the
way in which European retailers operate.  It’s been a long time coming,
but the signs are clear for all to see...

Scale is often the Achilles heel that can hold back nimble change; and let’s face it, the
USA’s gargantuan footprint, logistical networks and store layouts have been like trying to turn an Oil Tanker in comparison to the challenges of operators on the other side of the Atlantic.

In such a mature global marketplace, there are few opportunities left for bricks and
mortar operators to fine tune the dials within their business to have a
profound effect on sales. 

Most, of course, now have a solid web platform, a customer-centric APP with ‘non-banal’ functionality and a loyalty scheme.  The one thing that this creates, in buckets, is Big Data.  The World of Retail has never had it so good; used in the right
way, this is the fuel that’s been ignited beneath the traditional business model to propel sales skyward...

1. Understanding their place as a media owner.
Retailers now see that their weekly footfall and consumer interaction levels dwarf most other routes to market for advertisers.
We can see that they're now leveraging this strength by seeing an  opportunity to charge far more realistic market rates to reach their audience; leading to an increase in ‘untapped wells’ of revenue along with incremental sales – a win-win for all concerned.
This is eroding the grip of the outsourced ‘major players’ in the market who
offer limited access through limited media tactics.

2.  Acceptance that vendors are becoming more confident with investment decisions.
As Retail Marketing continues to grow in stature as a ‘sales science’, we can see the ways in which media plan choices are being affected.
This wealth of knowledge accumulated by CPGs over the past decade is now being mined for trends  and learnings which can give forward thinking  retailers the edge over their direct competitors.
Retailers are far more willing than ever to integrate thought-leadership across category activations, working collaboratively to assess the effects on sales and
consumer behaviour.

3. Experimentation within the in-store environment.
American consumers have long been pre-conditioned with relatively rudimental branded activities; take-ones, clip-ons, looped infomercials.

The real heavy lifting has all been behind the scenes with retailer-wide comms planning, trying to do the hard work of driving promotions and basket size.
Retailers are now becoming far more brave in their approach to retail theatre in-store, achieving stand-out to consumers by disrupting the shopper journey with innovative POS, messaging, displays and merchandising – driven by CPG-centric thinking
and collaboration…

4. Realisation that Test vs Control has the power of AWESOME.
There are few pure-play opportunities where cause and effect can be evaluated
to the level of transparency that Retail Marketing offers.  Retailers are stepping up and paying far closer attention than ever before to isolating the effects of shopper activations by adjusting the ways in which media is exposed to shoppers.  The power associated with being able to learn, fix and repeat campaign behaviours is unlocking a new level of retail intelligence.

5. Proof that the dedicated resource is growing.
Brands are far more willing to engage in JBP discussions 1-2-1 with Retailers,
which in turn is helping them ‘win at the point of sale’. As a consequence, Retailers are enlarging their internal departments to cope with demand.  This provides us with evidence that syndicated media buying will dwindle as a trend, replaced by far more powerful and well-thought-through activations. 

We should all be excited by this trend as it will be as transformational as the rise of Digital in the media landscape over the past 10 years...
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