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Live from #shopper360: Definitely Gen Z

Bala Mallela, Senior Director Category and Shopper Insights, Kimberly-Clark, presented today Definitely Gen Z: 78 Million Shoppers Loyal For Life

$5oB market for 2020 in the Baby and Childcare Category. How will you win Gen Z’s loyalty? A quarter of the population is under 18.

50% of teens are shopping online. 20% of girls under 12 regularly visit online shopping sites. This behavior will carry over into tomorrow.

5 universal truths about Gen Z:

1. Unbound Reality: they don’t treat physical and virtual worlds as separate, literally they have the world at their fingertips. Expects tech to be highly integrated.

Blend the physical and virtual reality: provide a seamless experience

2. Open & Real: Demands an honest dialogue with brands and retailers. They don’t want to just listen to you, they want a two way conversation.

Make real conversations, show her you know her.

3. Always connected, never alone: Always on with friends and connections, and information.

Technology is perceived as essential to survival, breaks all age, income and cultural barriers.

Always be there – be there on their terms.

4. Creative Soul: rather artistic, always looking to personalize and curates/shares content both owned and advocating.

Expresses herself through purchases but retail assortment is sometimes one-size-fits-all.

Provide a unique experience: enable customization, give her control, evolve with her – cocreate with her

5. Heart of Gold: She has an expansive worldview and cause conscious one.

Help them make a difference in the world.


Follow these tips to win this shopper forever.

Also of note: Insights Chief Marries Category Strategy and Shopper Centricity




Valerie RussoFormerly a senior copy editor at Thomson Reuters, a research editor at AOL,  and a senior web publicist at Hachette Book GroupValerie M. Russo is editor at large of The Front End of Innovation BlogThe Market Research Event BlogThe World Future Trends Tumblr, the Digital Impact Blog, and also blogs at She is the innovation lead and senior social media strategist for the Marketing and Business Strategy Division of the Institute for International Research, an Informa LLC., and her poetry was published in Regrets Only on sale at the MOMA Gift Shop. Her background is in Anthropology and English Literature. You can reach her at or @Literanista.




Live from #Shopper360: Panel on Retail, Strategy & the Shopper

English: Petco store, Lewiston, Maine.

Christopher Durham moderated the discussion and brought up questions about retail strategy, brand management, social media, and consumer insights. The panel answered these and had a continuous discussion.

Kathryn Henkens is the VP of Private Brands at Petco and she starts the conversation by discussing the increased focus on the consumer experience. She mentions the Bowl Mates line from Petco which involves a series of colorful bowls and mats to mix and match that pets can eat out of. Henkens also said that families care more for their pets now than ever before and that 50% of families take their pet on vacation with them. The increased love for pets has led to a Petco brand development team that did not exist ten years ago. She mentions that brand development has also changed form an earning money strategy  to a brand loyalty focus.

Juan C. De Paoli is the SVP of Brand Management and Own Brands at Ahold USA continues the conversation by mentioning the  ”renewed emphasis on quality” in products. He also discusses the  ”double wow factor” which includes the first  ”wow” on the shelf at the store, focusing on the packaging and appearance. The second “wow” is the delivery of what the package promises in terms of functionality.

Liz Berman is the Director of Portfolio Strategy at Safeway and added that the brands related to  health and wellness have had the most growth over the past several years.  O Organics is one such brand that has recently had a new packaging implemented. Berman mentioned the importance of phrases such as “USDA Certified”  allow consumers to find what they are looking for.

When asked about social media, Juan answered “If you are not active on social media then you are way behind in the times.” He continued by saying the social media is necessary to support the marketing of private brands.

Berman mentioned that social media has helped the Safeway loyalty card program optimize on the private brand side and figure out the most loyal customers. Safeway would then use the info to communicate with them and target them through direct mail and digitally to deliver relevant offers. Juan Paoli jumped in to mention that it is important to understand the data and deliver it a way that is not disruptive to the customers lives.

The last segment sparked a disagreement between Paoli who believed that the perception is that private brands were knock offs of national brand. He felt that this was the most common misconception The example he cited was Lexus and Toyota and how they are basically the same car but one costs more. Henkens disagreed and said that consumers are not aware of the changes over the past few years.

The discussion ended with a overall agreement that the younger generation understands the concept of private brands and in the coming years the millennial generation will cause these brands to grow. Will his predicted trend come true?

About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at


Live from #shopper360: Official kickoff with Paul Roth

The 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference started off strong with an opening keynote speech from Paul Roth, President of Retail Sales and Service at AT&T Inc.

The discussion focused on the current retail experience and how retailers, including AT&T, can stay relevant well into the future. In order to do so, Roth and his team identified retail’s “pure purpose.”

The concept of Pure Purpose:

Customers’ want every aspect of their experience to be integrated, from in store to online. They are looking for an emotionally engaging, highly personal experience every step of the way.

AT&T has taken years of collected consumer insight and implemented a system to meet the ever changing needs of their customer base.

What AT&T has done:

The results of their findings led AT&T to realize that customers want a knowledgeable staff as well as a personal experience. AT&T is leading the charge in changing from the traditional transaction and exchange method of retail to an interactional method. They want their costumers to feel like they have a relationship with the brand.

Mr. Roth concluded by reiterating that the future of retail depends on brands creating a highly engaging experience as well as fully integrating their social and online experiences.


Live from #Shopper360: The Technology Literate Shopper: A Dynamite Strategy

Josh Klein aptly showcased that contrary to a previous presentation, the consumer doesn’t have all the power but is actually at a disadvantage.

And thereafter plunged into an unvealing of a plethora of truhs about the modern society we will in, where Google needs only 22 points of data to find out where we are, some of which are as simple as using a back button on a browser, or where every day apps like Google Maps, Facebook, Check-ins, or more sophisticated companies like Spokeo have made a business out of understanding more about the consumer than the consumer wants. And honestly this makes marketers excited, but consumers terribly frightened.

Some interesting facts from the seminar were that the average person enrolls in 7.5 loyalty programs a year but 53% quit in a year, or that power tools in hands of consumers cheat the retailers big data practices. Consumers are using showooming to defy retail because of trust.

A plethora of examples came up, by Nordstrom using Pinterest images in stores, to airport security lasers to determine more than simple security: e.g. caffeine consumption, temperatures, what foods are in stomachs, etc.

Ultimately, the finding was that retailers should ally with customers, but retailers are responsible for reaching out to consumers to do so. Instead of getting freaked out by customers, engage with them. The way AirBnB did after its consumer fiasco, and proved their ‘million dollar guarantee’ was stronger for conversion.

Also, narrow your demographics into segments to understand what to cater to them. This will enable brands to see how much messaging is necessary to see how much they can do, followed by a dialogue with consumers on what they want to do.

Sourabh Sharma, Senior Manage & Communication + Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at Follow him on @sssourabh

A Guide to the 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference Next Week

There is still time to register for the 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference in Chicago, IL, next Monday through Wednesday (walk-ins are welcome). If you are unable to join us, don’t fret, we will be live tweeting and blogging.

Live Coverage

Live coverage begins Monday, July 14, 2014. I will be blogging and tweeting throughout the three-day event along with a great team of others.

Follow the official hashtag #shopper360 for tweets on anything you may have missed during the event.

Also, follow us on twitter @shopper360 and join the conversation by tagging your tweets with #shopper360

Photos will be posted to Facebook/Flickr and video will be available later on YouTube/Vimeo. You can also add your own photos to our group pool. For all the info regarding the vent and all of the live coverage visit

English: Chicago, IL, USA.

Chicago, IL, USA. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Shopper Connect

Before you arrive, download the Shopper Connect app from iTunes or the Android store in order to make the most of your time at the even next week. Registered attendees can view who will be in attendance, request meetings with other members, create a personal event schedule, and manage the entire network directly from your web-enabled device.

Things to Keep in Mind

We encourage you to bring a light jacket or sweater as the conference space may get chilly. You can check the forecast for Chicago here.

If you need anything, please find a member of our team, we’ll be wearing our Shopper Insights in Action T-shirts or send us a tweet.

See you there!



Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at



Petco Unleashes Insights to Keep Pace with Change

dog shopping frame

Petco VP Reviews New Breed of Retailer Research

By Marc Dresner, IIR

Retailers these days are rethinking research.

It’s not just in response to competitive pressure; it’s about keeping up with the shopper.

Take Petco, for example. The nationwide pet supply chain is making significant changes to its in-house research capabilities to adapt to the rapid—and rapidly accelerating—pace of change.

“You really can’t stand still anymore. Everything is changing on a daily basis.”


“The speed at which retail is changing is monumental. You really can’t stand still anymore,” said Petco VP of Private Brands Kathryn Henkens.

Kathryn Henkens

Kathryn Henkens

“Everything is changing on a daily basis. Customer expectations of retailers are so much greater,” she added.

“We are constantly learning and responding and adapting and adjusting and revising things on an ongoing basis, because if we don’t do that, we’ll be behind the curve,” Henkens told The Research Insighter.

Retailers have historically leaned heavily on the brands lining their shelves and on external suppliers for research.

And while that’s still the case, Henkens says national chains like Petco are beefing up their internal research capabilities in part because Big Data demands it.


“The biggest challenge that I see in retail today is pulling all of the data together.”

“There are tons of data today,” said Henkens. “The biggest challenge that I see in retail today is pulling all of that data together.”

Connecting all the data dots internally and with the help of partners, Henkens says, will be essential to drive decisions—something not done with a rearview mirror.

“A lot of research looks backward. We need to look forward.”

“A lot of research looks backward,” said Henkens. “We need to look forward to understand how things are going to impact retailing tomorrow and farther out.”

In this podcast with The Research Insighter—the official interview series of Shopper Insights in Action—Henkens reviews:

• How Petco is consolidating and synthesizing research

• The importance of bringing research agencies together

• Millennials and Baby Boomers: Do they shop differently? And more…

Listen to the podcast!

Download a transcript!

Editor’s Note: Kathryn Henkens will be featured on a special keynote panel—“Retail, Strategy and the Shopper”—at the 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action July 14-16 in Chicago.

For more information or to register, please visit


Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.


Let’s Meet at Shopper Insights in Action 2014

In less than 2 short weeks, we’re offering you the opportunity to meet with your shopper/consumer/customer researcher,  category leader, shopper marketer, merchandiser and retailer peers to create your impact on the future of retail, strategy and activation at the 14th annual Shopper Insights in Action.

Take a look at all the companies already confirmed to participate:

shopper14a 22squared
7-Eleven Inc
Ace Hardware
Advantage Group
Advantage Sales & Marketing
Ahold USA
American Greetings
Asics America
ATK Federal Cartridge Company
Bare International
Bayer Healthcare
Bellomy Research
Better Branding
Beverage World
Big Heart Pet Brands
Bigelow Tea
Brown Forman Corporation
Burke Inc
Bush Brothers & Company
BuzzBack LLC
C + R Research
Campbell Soup Company
Capre Group
Clear Ideas
CNS Media BV
ConAgra Foods
Crimson Hexagon
Customer Intercept
Dean Foods Company
Directions Research Inc
E & J Gallo Winery
Elanco Animal Health
Energizer Personal Care
ESPN Research+Analytics
Estee Lauder Companies
Euromonitor International
Fairway Market
Farmland Foods Inc
Field Agent
Florida Blue
Fresh Intelligence
General Mills
Georgia Pacific
GOJO Industries
Golden Gate University
Gorrie Marketing Services
Great Northern Corp
Harbor Industries Inc
Henkel Corporation
Hillshire Brands
InContext Solutions
Integrated Research Associates
Interbrand Design Forum
Jay H Baker Retailing Center Whart
Jo Ann Fabric & Craft Stores
Johnsonville Sausage LLC
Kellogg Company Mexico
Kimberly Clark
Kraft Foods
Lego Systems Inc
Leo Burnett/Arc
Lopez Negrete
L’Oreal Chile
Marketing Store Worldwide
MarketVision Research
Mars Petcare
McCormick & Company Inc
Moet Hennessy
Mondelez International
MSW.ARS Research
MTD Products Inc
National Confectioners Association
Neenah Paper Inc
Nestle Purina Pet Care
Newell Rubbermaid
Novartis Consumer Health
NPD Group
Omega Pharma NV
Open Mind Strategy
Pacific World Cosmetics
Passenger Inc
PepsiCo Inc
Perception Research Services
Pernod Ricard
PETCO Animal Supplies Inc
PetSmart Inc
Pfizer Consumer Healthcare
Philips Consumer Lifestyle
Pinch A Penny Inc
Pinnacle Foods Group
POS Tuning
Post Foods Canada Premio Foods
Procter & Gamble
Publix Super Markets Inc
RadioShack Corporation
Radius Global Market Research
Red Bull
Research Now
Retailing Today
Sachs Insights
Safeway Inc
Samsung Mobile
Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing Co
Sargento Foods Inc
SC Johnson
Scientific Games
Scripps Networks Interactive
Sentient Decision Science
Shopper Solutions
Shopper Tracker
Smucker Foods of Canada
Strack Van Til
SWIFT Innotribe
Talent EDGE Recruiting LLC
The Clorox Company
The Coca-Cola Company
The Hershey Company
The Home Depot
The Marketing Store Worldwide
The Sound Research
The Weather Channel
Theory House
Theory House Shopper Marketing
TimBar Packaging & Display
TNS Global
TNS Kantar Retail
Tobii Technology Inc
TriggerPoint Consulting
True Value Company
TruFood Limited
Trufood Ltd
Tyson Foods
ULTA Beauty
VideoMining Corporation
Vision Insights Group Inc
Vitamix Corporation
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts
WD Partners
William Grant and Sons Ltd
Wuptidotcom A S
Yale School of Management
Yankee Candle

Don’t get left behind! We’re holding a seat just for you. Register and save 15% off the standard rate today.

We’ll see you at the Navy Pier in Chicago.




Bring on the Passion: Turning shopping into content,content into shopping

According to Robin D. Hafitz, “Passion has become the preferred currency for Millennials, who participate, trade, barter, create and consume in a passion economy of products, services, ideas and memes. Kickstarter, Quirky, Lululemon, reddit, Twitter, Etsy, etc., are brands, platforms and channels that “get” the passion economy and are attracting millennials.”

robin hafitzRobin is the CEO of Open Mind Strategy, which she founded to provide marketers and programmers with strategic “Human” insights that provide a foundation for brand building.

Her clients have included The Food Network, AMC, USA Network, USA Today, Syfy, Yahoo!, Viacom, Newsweek, and many others.

Today we had a chance to talk shop with Robin, here’s what she shared about her own retail experiences:

She loves to shop here:

Lately, I love to shop at Eataly in New York City.  It is often way too crowded, it is always difficult to navigate, and it sometimes involves long lines.  And yet, I love shopping there.  The mix of people eating with people shopping, the feeling of authenticity and specialness about the food, and the fact that I can drink a glass of wine while picking out a ripe avocado make it well worth the annoyances.  Expect to see more of these tourist-attracting, agora-like shopping meccas created in the coming years, as retailers see the benefits of merging shopping and entertainment.

Her Guilty (Shopping) Pleasure:

Net-a-porter is my guilty shopping pleasure.  They turn shopping into content, and content into shopping, in a way that I often find irresistible.  Receiving a box from them gives me a thrill — the packaging is so distinctive.  And the fact that returns are always handled perfectly makes me feel safe picking out (sometimes very) expensive things on the internet.

Her Retail Pet Peeve:

Always being asked at check-out, “Did you find everything okay?” If I didn’t, it’s probably too late at this point for my dissatisfaction to be addressed.

It’s Time to Retire ______:

In the research industry, I’m driven crazy by researchers who don’t respect the people they research.  My least favorite way that I’ve ever heard human beings described is as “pieces of sample.”  ”P.O.S.”  That stands for something else, too.  I believe strongly in respecting consumers and their opinions, and in using language that reflects that respect.

Her Random, Fun Fact:

I was a Peace Corps baby, born in Africa.

Editor’s Note:

Robin will deliver a keynote address, Welcome to the Passion Economy: Winning by Connecting with Passion, at the 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action Conference, taking place on July 14-16, 2014 in Chicago. Join us to bring on the passion – and synthesize activation across platforms, channels and partners.


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Cyclic Thoughts Behind a Modern Shopping Experience: Part 2

Complete article featured on A Complex Shopping Trip.

And so continues the exploration of a modern shopper’s dilemma, based on the following cyclic trends.

Product Origins: Made with Care

Part of the skepticism comes from the origins, or processing, of consumer products. Blame it on the paparazzi, who like to sensationalize any flaw in a manufacturing process, such as the Tylenol recall due to moldy scents or trace chemicals, or the publicity around manufacturing of airplane food in infested areas. Or perhaps, blame it on ourselves, as we have caught on to the anti-bacterial bug, and constantly wash our hands with anti-bac soap, place a tissue before opening a public restroom door knob or faucet, or apply alcohol wipes to clean surfaces, or on our hands after  a public transit adventure. Besides the fact that we are consistently drying our hands out of essential oils and moisture (and of course, in this marketing driven world, there are products targeted specifically for drying hands and tearing cuticles), this just cements the fact that we are taking extra care in what we do, touch, breathe, eat, and overall, do consciously. Companies and brands are under immense scrutiny from story-lusting spies to mainstream consumers, who want multiple guarantees as to why things are made cleanly, clearly, and transparently. It is no longer an assumption, but a claim that requires repeated validation. So, businesses, watch out, for even the air particles carry microscopic cameras.

New standards: A Paradigm Shift in Shopping

Now the important element of purchasing power: price. Discounting is everywhere. Every day our eyes are reading the four letter words that have become synonymous with shopping: s-a-l-e. It’s no wonder that the upcoming generations are swift at mathematics, what with the varying percentages off of full price, with extra percentages off with using specific cards, or the buy several and get several more free offers, it’s almost like it’s become a standard of shopping. And that in itself is a risk. Consumers often enjoy seeing the new trends and designs on models, stars, everywhere, but are willing to wait until they’re on sale. The sale price has become the new value. It is a self fulfilling prophecy of a downward spiral. Not to mention a competitive threat to mainstream retailers. It may not affect the retailers who support their ‘low prices – always’ claim, but those opting for fashion and lifestyle do not attend the big box stores either. It may not affect the premium brands, who claim exorbitant amounts simply for a small embroidered logo or metal placket on the edge of a pretty ordinary looking item. But these cater to a very niche market, less than one percent of the world. What this paradigm shift in shopping standards is bound to do is affect the mainstream consumers, the bulging and growing bulk of the world. This is the concern, which is leading to unnecessarily strange behavior. Is an item really on sale, could be one reaction, when a simple item seems exorbitantly priced even at 50% off. Inflated initial prices with sales prices that reflect what a retailer would actually want, for instance. Which again forms a circular loop of suspicion as a consumer wonders how an item that is marked $80 can possibly sell for $5, and starts to wonder about consumption habits and the ethics of a branded product. Fishy times lay ahead, and brands must stay alert.

Social Media: Lets Tweet!
And when consumers are comparing prices, options, promotions, another factor that comes into play is the rise of social media. There are too many elements in a product-consumer interface now. The human element has blended itself into the gap, and people are closer than ever to their celebrity endorsers and brand managers, reading their tweets instantly, which relays a message that these are no longer larger than life perfectly airbrushed bodies on multi story billboards; these are real people, with real thoughts, real problems, and real grammatical mishaps that occur when they type. Whilst this may excite many users, who get to know of what their brands are conspiring on a daily basis, it poses a risk towards the legitimacy and efficacy of branded products. Are businesses really getting closer to their consumers, or are they tweeting a different and perhaps misleading tune? Moreover, there are several myths around social media, including things like its ease of use, cost-effectiveness, and new-ness, all of which are rather false; it is difficult to sustain, definitely not cost effective, and while it is buzzing around professional circles, its not entirely too new. Combine this with the frugal consumer and the consumer skepticism, and you have an ongoing cycle of thoughts glistening with question marks. Although, hopefully social media is actually here to stay, for I do think the pros outweigh its hiccups. But then, we have always been oblivious to the bubbles of the economy until they burst.

Sourabh Sharma, Senior Manage & Communication + Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at Follow him on @sssourabh

The Transforming Shopper: Shopping Isn’t an Event But a Detour

Over the years, we have had the opportunity to discuss the retail industry with James Sorensen, the Senior Vice President  of Retail and Shopper at TNS Global – Kantar Retail, a few times. Whether it’s what the past 20 years of In-Store Research or what to expect in 2020 or the Misconceptions and key challenges germane to Virtual Reality Retail Research, he’s always been optimistic about the future of the Transforming Shopper and the implications for those in insights, consumer behavior, merchandising, category management, analytics and digital marketing.

Recently we had a chance to ask him some more personal questions and here’s what he had to say:

Where he shops:

I don’t.  Shopping is always a chore.

Retail Pet Peeve:

Promoting products using the most valuable real estate in the store.  Most promoted products would be bought at full price on displays, end caps, etc.

Question that he gets asked way too much:

“How do I engage the shopper so they will spend more time in my store?”

Answer: You can’t (or shouldn’t). Shoppers want to get done and get out. Shopping isn’t an event, it is a detour on their way to the rest of their lives.

The Store of the future?

No store.  Merchandise I need just shows up.

In the video below, Dan Boehm and James Sorensen from TNS Retail and Shopper discuss  what you can start doing to better market towards shoppers’ different thinking states:

We’re looking forward to learning more about the Future Store and the Transforming Shopper, which he present along with Shannon Irving, Retail & Shopper Insights Manager, Category & Shopper COE at Nestle USA, at the 14th Annual Shopper Insights in Action, taking place July 14-16, 2014, in Chicago. We hope to see you there!


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