Many people imagined that the exponential growth of e-commerce in 2020 would kill traditional retail, driving shoppers definitely away from physical stores. But the data show otherwise. As health restrictions ease, Brazilians are resuming in-store shopping. By 2025, stores will account for 82% of total national retail sales and 57% of sales growth, according to a survey by Google with Euromonitor making it clear that the relationship with customers still takes place primarily off-line.
So no, the pandemic has not killed or weakened traditional retail, but it has changed it profoundly, accelerating trends like omnichannel and the appreciation of in-store experience – a challenge for brands that are poorly prepared for the new shopper behavior. And this new reality adds to the fragile context of the economy, which is pushing FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) companies to make more efficient investments, especially in physical retail.
With so many risks at stake, how do you validate POS (point of Sale) strategies and campaigns before scaling them? How to adapt the A/B testing – so commonly used in the digital world – to the offline setting, to test the execution plan live, in real-world conditions, optimizing efforts and pivoting it in time?
Old retail myths need to die once and for all
To evolve the way we approach, test, and scale retail, we need to rethink some ‘ myths’ that guide brand decisions in go-to-market strategies.
“POS is about selling, and not about building brands”
There is an old belief that branding and trade do not mix, leading in practice to the separation between the brand strategy and its execution, which are oftentimes developed by different entities, that do not interact. This is a mistake, especially today, when the store must increasingly deliver a complete, immersive and emotional experience, becoming a point of relationship before being a point of sale.
“The only purpose of testing and prototyping is to understand the technical aspects”
In the traditional trade test culture, it is very common for brands to test the POS campaign with no clear success criteria, no dedicated follow-up, in controlled environments, with shelves exposed to handpicked consumers. In such a scenario, it’s really hard to test anything other than functionality. However, using more agile digital culture methods applied offline, it is possible to understand conversion data and brand KPIs, which help to build the brand, enhance sell-out and scale efficiently.
“Digital is only relevant in e-commerce”
The digital world is transversal and permeates every aspect of our lives, from our relationships, to finances, to the purchases in physical points. Brands that integrate digital solutions using tools such as apps, QR codes and augmented reality – which solve their customers’ pain points in a practical and intelligent way – stand out. However, they need to adopt the methodology test and learn before scaling, since digital tools ask for greater precision and adjustments to give results.
There is no magic formula for successful trade marketing, but one thing is certain: in the post-pandemic scenario, brands need to improve POS efficiency, ensuring scale, capillarity and providing a return-on-investment perspective through reliable testing. And how to do it?
A new way to test live: the Shoppering methodology
Faced with this challenging context, CBA B + G, in partnership with Bistrô Estratégia, have created Shoppering, a unique methodology for testing and prototyping strategy and execution of materials at the POS – including packaging – in real time and conditions, giving a second chance to the first impression that brands must leave on shoppers; thus improving the chances of conversion.
Viviani Tacila, co-founder of Bistrô, says that the methodology came to fill a market gap: “While leading the strategic planning of agencies, it was frustrating to be unable to see the strategy being tested and executed live. As much as we believed in its efficiency and depth, we had no way to validate or control it because we did not follow the process. We saw the strategies being directly implemented on a large scale, without any real test.”
The Shoppering model, following the principles of experimental design and the test and learn approach of innovation methodologies and start-ups ecosystem, helps to test and improve the campaign in real stores, with real consumers, fostering agility and promoting brand efficiency. “We test live for a period, understand the flaws, pivot in a new direction and test again before crafting a playbook”, explains Stephanie Lamenza, the other co-founder of Bistrô. “Is the campaign message clear? Does the trigger work? “There is no doubt, pivoting and continuous learning is essential.”
Joining Bistrô’s expertise in strategic planning and in the test and learn methodology with CBA B + G’s knowledge in design and branding, the tool unites trade with brand building. According to Luis Bartolomei, partner and co-founder of CBA B + G, it helps brands convert leads into sales while building a strong brand equity. He says: “The Shoppering project is an expert omnichannel brand strategy initiative focused on Sales, created to build a decisive bridge between these two points – Sales and Branding – often placed at antagonistic poles. It is not just about testing POS material, but rather a model that includes strategic planning, prototyping and pivoting concepts with KPIs focused on POS presence, sales conversion and brand value.”
The four steps of the Shoppering Project
- WHAT: Alignment of task, strategic planning, definition of KPIs, pre-testing of chosen site.
- HOW: Real time monitoring dashboard and field implementation: we developed an interface where clients can timely monitor the test data, ensuring the transparency and efficiency of the campaign.
- TEST: Live-test and prototypes pivoting, making the necessary adjustments on-site as we receive the data and the feedback from the campaign.
- ROLL-OUT: Development of a playbook with the final recommendations.
The initiative is beginning to gain momentum. If you would also like to test your brand execution plan live, under real conditions and pivot it in time, this is the solution. What do you say? Let’s work together to increase performance and build your retail brand?
CBA B+G + BISTRÔ ESTRATÉGIA