Retailers, even more than brands, need to drive business every day — not just when a new product hits the shelves. Ad or marketing campaigns, by definition, highlight an idea or concept for a specific purpose and for a finite time.
Realizing that disconnect between retailers and the products they sell was part of what spurred WPP Group’s media buying and planning agency Mindshare to formally create the Shop+ unit in November 2015.
“Our Shop+ unit has grown tremendously this past year, but its ultimate mission statement remains the same: we work with Mindshare clients and teams to provide a seamless media experience for the consumer all the way to purchase,” says Joe Migliozzi, Shop+ NA Lead at Mindshare. “Together, we leverage the latest technology and media partnerships to move audiences to transaction.
So for example, here’s a good chunk of what that includes:
- New Technology: Shop+ works with clients to drive strategy and execute on the latest platforms including retailer media platforms, mobile shopping apps, augmented reality, digital coupons, e-commerce, emerging payment methods, and more.
- Data: As in-store and online transactional data get linked to media placement, Shop+ develops this for both our brand and shopper media campaigns for our clients. We also turn shopper data into insights to enhance Mindshare communication planning for each client.
- Media Partnerships: Retailers are becoming big digital media platforms in their own right. The very stores/retailers that some of our clients are selling at are significantly building out their own media platforms/offerings.
As Mindshare and Shop+ prepare to head to CES next week, we checked in with Migliozzi as part of our CES preview series in partnership with Kinetic about the main topics on his and retail clients’ minds.
GeoMarketing: What will Shop+ be showcasing at CES 2017?
Joe Migliozzi: We’re hosting a luncheon with Amazon and doing a panel on emerging trends in retail and digital, such as voice activated commerce through Amazon’s Alexa and Amazon Dash buttons. We’ll be focusing on how clients can test and learn in these new emerging spaces. We believe, as Amazon does, that these tools will be more mainstream in the next couple years. So there will be a discussion with some of the experts at Amazon in those areas about the way brands can get involved now and test them out.
In fact, Shop+ is actually one of the three key themes for our [Mindshare’s] CES experience overall – throughout our floor tours, partner meetings, etc. We’re looking at how the wide range of CES tech can drive consumers to the point of purchase.
Shop+ emerged from Mindshare in November 2015. How has Shop+ evolved over the past year?
Shop+ had been part of Mindshare’s media offering informally, but it became more official last year. And a lot has changed. The mission has been the same, but there’s definitely been a lot of evolution in terms of what we’ve been offering.
Our mission is basically to help move our clients’ customers complete sales using emerging digital channels — we’ve always been singularly focused on driving customers to retail.
In terms of all the opportunities to make that happen, so many options have really exploded in the last year or two. As I noted, there are a lot of new offerings from Amazon. We’re looking at mobile rebate providers like ibotta and Checkout 51. We’re constantly looking at beacon technology like inMarket.
When it comes to the way Shop+ goes to market, does the unit strictly serve the retail pieces of campaigns run by Mindshare and the wider WPP family, or do you operate independently as well?
Initially there were some projects that can be seen as separate from what Mindshare does. I’ll give you an example. When we talk about couponing or mobile rebates, a lot of times, those tactics don’t touch upon the paid media campaign. So Shop+ works with clients independently on some of those projects.
As clients move from paper couponing or paper promotional offers into the digital space, the key point here is it can and should be integrated with Mindshare.
How have the conversations with clients on the role of beacons changed over the past year and looking to 2017?
Beacons have been around obviously for a little while now. The biggest challenge with beacons has to do with the lack of mass adoption.
Theoretically, beacons are great technology: I walk into a store, or I’m close to an aisle, and I will get a unique message. When we look at the results from test campaigns we’ve run for various clients, the engagement’s there. We’ll see high clickthrough. But the challenge is we’re really not seeing the volume of results that we’d like to see to make it worthwhile.
That’s challenge: getting the mass adoption across multiple retailers.
I believe that it’s a technology that still needs to be developed for greater use for advertising. That will happen as the Walmarts and the Targets start experimenting more with beacon technology and making it a consistent opportunity for advertisers.
How do you regard the importance of other technologies, like Amazon Dash, for clients? Is it meaningful or experimental at the moment?
Dash is very interesting for a lot of our clients. It’s a new way to engage the consumer and actually sell. This is actually part of our CES discussion. We believe that we should be testing and learning these platforms now. We’re not going to see, in the short term, mass sales. Not until they become further adopted and become more simplified or have greater reach.
What’s your view of advertising and drone delivery, something Amazon and Google have been exploring? 7-Eleven just began its own exploration with drones in Reno, Nevada.
It’s great. We’ve heard of experiments like that. As for how we think of the role of drones from a marketing standpoint, when it comes down to it, it’s really about convenience for the consumer. It’s either convenience or price. Ultimately, drone delivery represents a huge convenience. Drones are interesting. But right now, it’s more for the buzz — and I’m sure 7-Eleven got a lot of good PR out of using drones. It helps show that 7-Eleven is being innovative. Amazon is being innovative. That said, I don’t know from a retail standpoint if it’s worth a major rollout at this point.
What other technologies excite you as actionable for retail as you look to 2017?
Amazon Alexa. With Amazon, these initiatives are more than just a conversion. They want to do more than just sell products. Amazon is ultimately tied to their whole ecosystem of music and answering questions and playing games and all those different types of functions. I definitely see this as something that’s got momentum behind it. I’m curious to see how Google does with their product. It seems like this can easily be a year from now, when you have yours, you can be saying your whole grocery list into it and it being delivered via Amazon to your house. I feel like this is something we definitely need to keep an eye on.
Secondly, Amazon Go is very interesting.
This is something I’ve had lots of conversations with people who aren’t in the business about. People can’t wait until Amazon Go and frictionless shopping happens in their town, where they could just walk in and not have to deal with lines. A key part of retail now that is a huge frustration of people is waiting in line. I believe there’s a huge demand for anything that addresses that problem. It will take awhile for Amazon to get there and roll that out, however.
As I’ve said, there are a lot of challenges and barriers to mass adoption across the US. It seems like a need that everyone’s really excited for. As for myself, it’s great to run out of the office for 20 minutes, I can go pick a few things up, scan my phone and not sit in line for a half hour.
Lastly, how do you view the role location technology plays in all those digital retail advancements? What are the challenges and benefits with regard to the use of geo-data?
It’s been a huge part of obviously really pushing the practice at Shop+. Latitude and longitude has really come a long way with the whole technology around geolocation. When we talk about shopper marketing, especially with digital, the reason why it’s important is that we’ve been able to pinpoint people that are in-store or around stores; we can analyze the place-based patterns of people to determine if they’re potentially be going near Walmart and are ready to shop.
We would love to be able to refine that understanding and ability to target someone based on the right place and right time even more.
Clients often ask if they can actually target someone through geolocation if they’re in the potato chip aisle? We’re not completely there yet.
As I mentioned, if I’m able to deliver a message to someone who’s in the paper towel aisle, that’s a clear marketing victory.
There’s going to be a significant shake out over the next two- to three years. The retail revolution is obviously in full effect. What we’re going to see is a lot more brick-and-mortar working on trying to develop an experience in-store that’s worth your time to come to. Instead of simply arranging products stocked on a shelf, the idea of the store will be centered on providing experiences is brought to you by the brands being sold there.
I see great potential for personal care type of experiences in terms of being able to provide educational content for products that partner with the retailers. When you think about the connection between digital and physical, you want consumers to say, “Hey, I can only get this experience if I walk in the store.”