The shopping experience and the six second rule

During this festive period I’ve found myself thinking about how brands are frequently challenged with capturing consumer loyalty – especially at this time of year. In a crowded market place, it is essential to find ways to set themselves apart from the competition.

Delivering a stand-out experience in-store provides this opportunity. Point of purchase is part of the experience, and suppliers are required to design, innovate and provide a fresh approach to evoke consumer emotion. Point of purchase is where your brand-building is tested; on average, consumers will spend only six seconds seeking a preferred brand before settling for an alternative.

A retail experience that evokes the right emotions within the target audience is vital. To create this, we need to understand these emotions. Consumer preference stems from positive emotional associations. With 65% of communication being non-verbal, an experience should span all the senses.

At Valley, we have developed research techniques that enable us to analyse the consumer emotions, both conscious and unconscious, that combine to create an unforgettable experience. We use these discoveries to map the consumer journey at an emotional level while looking at how different stimuli are received by the consumer at each stage.

This provides brands with an understanding of the role played by the retail experience in the customer journey, enabling them to improve their chances of success.

We go beyond the traditional point of purchase approach to look at the communication tactics already in place and find ways to provide a more holistic offer. These might include staff training, online guides and ‘mystery shopper’ checks. As technology and environmental considerations develop, we are combining this with interactive point of purchase.

In-store marketing is the most significant tool to drive sales growth. Brands are built in the mind of the consumer, through experiences. Thanks to our fresh, forward-thinking approach, our clients have enjoyed an average sales uplift of 30%, as well as gaining credibility and kudos from unique, eye-catching and innovative retail prominence.

Point of purchase and an overall communication campaign allows brands to maximise the opportunities within the retail environment, which has a strong role to play in creating brand perception, as well as securing that all-important sale. Future winners within the point-of-purchase industry will continue to create those experiences, which are key to building brands. Those who don’t will get left behind.

From Bogota to bras.. and back again!

With the festive season well and truly upon us, it seems the credit crunch is forcing families to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. Consumers are inevitably spending less this year, so the shopping experience is crucial to helping retailers secure those valuable purchases.

This is something I was discussing with a new designer from South America based Bogota last week. He works with a specialist team of around 50 designers, all of whom specialise in point of purchase. It was great to speak to someone who plays such an important role in what we do, and also to get an insight about the trends and styles affecting point of purchase overseas.

Last week, after much arm-twisting, I also attended the launch of the new lingerie and swimwear collection from La Senza. The event was held at Home House in London and as you can imagine was a sea of models in their underwear and champagne – it’s a hard life!

Over the past couple of years the chain has really diversified and updated their image, for example the new face of La Senza is everyone’s favourite WAG and ‘I’m a Celebrity ’contestant, Gemma Atkinson – plus they’ve recently joined forces with the Pussy Cat Dolls to launch the new‘ underwear as outerwear’ range. It will be interesting to see how the brand revamp is echoed in their in-store environment.

I’ve also just got back from a fleeting visit to Holland where I met a number of potential new business leads and also had a nosey at the current point of purchase displays being used there, whilst doing a bit of Christmas shopping.

Finally, you’ll have noticed the picture of yours truly in this post. This was the product of standing in the cold on a very busy Oxford Street for over an hour with a Marketing magazine photographer a couple of weeks ago. The photo is to accompany a feature article in Marketing as part of the Forward Thinking issue. Look out for it in January!

Will post again soon, I’m off now to get cracking on my daughter Holly’s Christmas presents! Good luck with your preparations and Merry Christmas from me and all the Valley gang.