Mobile Promotions Trump Brand Loyalty

According to a survey investigating the behavior of smartphone owners in grocery and drug stores, nearly 75% of consumers would switch brands if offered real-time mobile promotions delivered to their phones while shopping in a store aisle.

 Of the least brand conscious group — 25- to 34-year-olds — 82% were willing to switch brands if they received a mobile offer for a competing product while in the store.

 The survey of 1,027 grocery and drug store shoppers with smartphones came from AisleBuyer, a provider of mobile self-checkout services. Key findings include:


·      81% of respondents go to grocery and drug stores prepared with a list of items to buy, although only 8% list specific brands to purchase; and

·      91% of smartphone owners between 25 and 34 years old expressed interest in receiving instant offers through a mobile shopping app for the items on their lists.

While in a grocery or drug store aisle, consumers indicated that the most important purchase decision-drivers are as follows:

·      Price/everyday low value (76%);

·      Promotions/getting the most for their money (58%);

·      Coupon availability (51%);

·      Brand loyalty (38%);

·      Generic or store brand availability (26%); and

·      New products from existing or emerging brands (22%).

AisleBuyer concluded that traditional in-store shopper marketing tactics such as end-cap displays, dump bins and sampling programs must be adapted for the new mobile shopper.

“Given that a majority of shoppers enter stores with only rough shopping lists, they are incredibly impressionable when they are in the aisle,” said Andrew Paradise, AisleBuyer’s CEO, in a press statement. “As brand marketers look for new ways to feature their products as shoppers consider the competition, they should look no further than something consumers already have in hand — their smartphones.”

In an effort to determine the importance of in-store mobile promotions, Ryan opened the discussion on the RetailWire site for retail analysts and executives by asking the following questions:

·      How would you rate the potential of in-store mobile promotions to motivate consumers to switch brands?

·      How do you think mobile promotions will affect traditional in-store shopper marketing tactics such as end-cap displays, shippers, sampling, etc.?

Apparel retailers and merchants of high-value products command greater loyalty than grocery brands, according to Ralph Jacobson, Global Consumer Products Industry Marketing Executive for IBM. As a result, grocery/food merchants have an opportunity to encourage purchases with timely offers via mobile.

“If you catch shoppers with a timely promotion while they are in the store, I believe the vast majority would switch brands to take advantage of the promotion,” Jacobson said. “This is a great thing for all retail segments to try. Though there may be more loyalty in other, non-food segments, people are looking for value in all product categories.”

Other respondents also indicated that mobile deals are an essential tool for retailers to have in their marketing arsenal.

“If retailers aren’t conceiving a plan in this space and/or testing today, they are missing a huge opportunity to learn at minimum, and lose sales as a result,” said David Slavick, VP of Retail Consulting at Customer Communications Group. “Clients at all levels of sophistication are asking questions and need strategic plans to support this channel for dialogue and transaction processing.”

However, other respondents find push notifications via mobile to be intrusive and irritating, especially as shoppers vie to get tasks done quickly.

“How many consumers really want their smartphones to be ringing constantly with promotional offers as they walk through a grocery or drug store?” asked Max Goldberg, Founding Partner of The Radical Clarity Group. “Consumers want to save money and appreciate promotional offers, and smartphones do offer an interesting promotional channel, but they are not the promotional panacea; They are part of a coordinated marketing effort that includes end-caps, in-store signage and sampling.”

“I don’t know who took this poll, but I find it hard to believe that consumers want to be constantly buzzed with in-store promos while walking the aisles,” added Rick Boretsky, Retail Data Integration Specialist for RIBA Retail. “Promotions do not build loyalty: rewarding your best customers does. It might be a nice incentive to try something new, but if the only difference is price, then consumers will not come back again.

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