What is shopper-consumer convergence? – Retailing Africa

Annette K. Brown

by Tshiamo Tladi. Shopper-consumer convergence is the blurring of the divide between consumer versus shopper. Long gone are the traditional disparities that clearly defined which media or channels accurately engaged with either the consumer or shopper. As modern marketers, we find ourselves at a time and place where marketing communications can be consumed anywhere. And simultaneously, shopping can now happen at anytime and anywhere too. This presents us with quite the interesting dilemma, namely, despite the plethora of opportunities to achieve both brand marketing and sales objectives, should we still define specific roles for individual channels?

The resounding answer to the above question should be yes! Why? Allow me to quote some religious text to illustrate a point. Proverbs 29v18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” And I would like to believe, the same is true for campaigns that have yet to define specific roles for certain channels. In defining the channel’s role, this allows our marketing communications to be more impactful and effective in landing its intended message. A concept I have recently been introduced to that I have also subsequently added to my repertoire – native messaging*. This concept is informed by key pillars:

  • Define the role of a set of channels.
  • Master how to convey the message that will live ‘natively’ with impact.
  • Crucial to this, is also realising that your purpose should slightly vary from channel to channel accordingly.

Why is channel native messaging important in marketing communications? We do not want communications to feel jarring because they are not native to the channel they are engaging with. Questions I believe we can start asking ourselves to possibly simplify the complexity of building your messaging and communications matrix is this… Which channels do we want to use for consumers to drive awareness and spark interest? Which channels do we want to use to inform decision making and speedily initiate purchase? And lastly, what type of native messaging is best fit at landing our message to consumer or shopper we are trying to engage with?

Blurred lines

The proliferation of technology is forever going to keep driving this phenomenon of blurring the line between shopper and consumer**. The need for agility should not negate the importance of defining roles the channels will play towards achieving our marketing and sales objectives. And yes, there will always be marketing channels that do not allow us to have a clearly defined role. However, there is an opportunity to let our messaging evolve on those platforms to continue to be native in how they are pitched to both consumers and shoppers.

So, what are the key considerations?

To quote one of my favorite marketing minds, Clayton M. Christensen, “disruptive technologies typically enable new markets”; and importantly, for us in the modern era, new ways to engage with both consumers and shoppers alike. Rather than simply conceding to allow the marketing channels native behaviours to present opportunities for us to ensure that audience, we need to also be proactive. We need to be proactive in determining whether there is any opportunity to build in the necessary parameters native to that channel to either win with consumers or shoppers on the channel.

What does the future offer?

In a time of tighter budgets and performance marketing, digital marketing will continue to be more enticing and appealing to redirect spend. However, without considered effort to define the role we want channels to play, we pretty much should continue using the tried and tested spray and pray approach our historic marketing departments have been built on. Now, is the time, to go back to being the masters of messaging that works with its intended target audience. And part of it, will require us to take the time to re-learn what works best on which platforms.

Performance marketing presents a credible approach to test and learn where your marketing communications channel sweet spots are. However, without modern marketers being willing to take that additional step to also understand the native nuance for messaging, we might be communicating amiss and still flying blind on certain marketing channels. The heart of this article is to reiterate the importance of developing messaging with purpose.

The blurring of the divide between shopper and consumer should spur more intentional consideration in the channels we use to engage with them, and the purpose that channel plays within our campaigns. In embracing native messaging, we might find that our marketing campaigns will start to do more work for us than we could even anticipate as we master how our brands should move on them.

*Native messaging in the marketing sense, also known as native advertising, refers to advertising that places the message right where the target audience can see it without too many distractions. Often sponsored content, rather than obvious banner advertising.

*Native messaging in the technology space is where applications talk to each other through extensions and APIs to sync communication between devices.

**The difference between a ‘shopper’ and a ‘consumer’ is well documented: A ‘shopper’ is an individual who physically visits the retail location or online storefront to make a purchase. This individual may not actually consume the product or products they purchase, but they hold the purchasing power. The ‘consumer’ is the end user of the product that was purchased. (Source: Premise.com).

 

Main image credit: Pexels.com.

 

 

Tshiamo Tladi is a skilled retail & shopper strategist, having spent the last 15 years working across both client and agency roles, he has a wide range of experience in sales, planning, retail strategy and shopper performance marketing. He currently holds the role of Head of Retail Strategy for Accenture Song. He is a firm believer in building campaigns that win both hearts and wallets of consumers and shoppers, respectively. He is passionate about marketing strategy at the centre of great campaign ideas and optimistic in seeing retail big data as the next frontier for award-winning shoppers campaigns of the future.

 

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