We identify new market and product opportunities to help companies grow.
Call us: 312.276.5140 Email: info@ericksonresearch.com

Erickson Research Blog

All posts in Technology

Engage In-Store: Creative Ways to Build Shopper Loyalty Through Mobile Devices


According to PEW Research, in Fall 2012, nearly half of US adults owned a smartphone or tablet. The latest from eMarketer indicates that the number of mobile shoppers continues to rise.   It’s no wonder that images like this will soon become more commonplace in the retail environment.

In fact, I took this photo with my smartphone, last Sunday, at my local grocery store.  This cart belonged to a 30-something male who was using his Ipad to help him shop.

I used this opportunity to strike up a conversation with him (i.e. do a bit of impromptu shopper research)

Me:  “How long have you been doing this type of shopping with your iPad?”

Shopper:  “At least 2-3 months.  It helps me keep track of purchases I make and items I run out of during the week.  I also use it to plan my weekly meals.”

Me:  “Do you use coupons?”

Shopper:  “I honestly don’t have time to keep track of and clip coupons.  I’ve tried it in the past but it’s too much work.”

Me:  “Is your iPad connected to the wireless network here in the store?”

Shopper:  “No.  I actually subscribed to my own connection, since WiFi isn’t available everywhere I need it.”

This encounter lead me to wonder…how can grocery retailers use this opportunity to increase customer loyalty and engagement?

Why not offer free WiFi to customers… and take it a step further?
Once you’ve captured their email address (via opt-in), get interactive through their mobile device by…

    • Issuing automatic coupons
    • Offering additional sales items (not available to the general public)
    • Sharing ideas for meals and recipes using in-store products
    • Integrating a reward point program (if not already in play) that encourages them to return and shop your store again
    • Creating an app that helps them in and out of the store (whether it’s with in-season shopping lists, organizing coupons, menu planning, etc.)  

I know it sounds a little “Jetsons”-like but that’s what shoppers yearn for…more inspiration while grocery shopping.

And considering that today’s shoppers are usually pressed for time, offer them handy shortcuts and create the innovation they need, in-store, using the tools they already carry with them.

Or, what about those visiting a favorite QSR?  While dining tends to be a social experience, I can’t help but notice the number of people that go to a QSR alone and use their tablet or smartphone as their companion.Attractive Cheerful Asian Indian woman Sending Reading SMS at Ca

They’ve just ordered food and are physically in your location.  You’ve got their attention.  So why not use this time to offer them an improved overall restaurant experience?

Many of the large QSR chains already offer free WiFi, but what are they doing to further engage these customers?  Some ideas…

  • Unique podcasts/ programming that’s available when dining-in
  • Access to exclusive targeted coupons
  • Loyalty card already built into an app 

As mobile devices continue to become more and more mainstream, simply offering a WiFi connection is not enough to create a relationship with your consumers.

Companies need to reach further, utilize this valuable means of access to buyers… and create a true consumer connection.  One that gets them excited about visiting your location and gives them a reason to come back more often.

Technology Marketers Take Note: Four Things You Must Know For Product Messaging Success

executive“As a person that’s embedded in the technology industry, particularly in this subject matter, that’s intuitive. I’d rather it say something that tells me what it actually does.”  – VP of Information Systems, Medical Device Technology Company

“A good word to use is X. When people in our industry talk, they talk about X.”  – Director of Global Standards, Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Technology Company

“Those are all very general terms. I don’t even know what this one means. You want to use the latest and greatest terms that attract people and X is that term.”
– VP, Chief Supply Chain Office, Global Pharmaceutical Technology Company

These are the types of comments we heard directly from business decision-makers recently when they read descriptions of a new technology product.

This feedback was invaluable to our client. It allowed them to appropriately refine their messaging to…

  • Better engage key decision-makers in their language
  • Provide content that’s relevant and tells them something new

What we’ve learned from countless hours of speaking to business decision-makers in the technology industry…

  1. Talk to them before your communications team writes or designs anything – We are certainly big proponents of doing something to test new communication pieces before launching them. However, why not integrate the market’s needs and preferences from the start? This will likely save you time and create greater efficiency for your team.
  2. They have limited time, are harder to engage and just want the facts – so be less fluffy and more specific in conveying what your product or service does.
  3. Speaking their language enhances credibility – your company’s internal terminology may not be the same as theirs. Using the right words in your communication with them will help demonstrate you have the expertise and knowledge they require.
  4. It’s worth the time and money to talk to them directly, one-on-one – directional feedback on product messaging can be incredibly informative. In-depth interviews can provide rich insights to hone your communication efforts and make them more effective.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors who are probing their own minds in internal meetings rather than reaching out to the people whose input really matters – your buyers.

Here’s another recent example of the value of one-on-one interviews where having us speak to our client’s customers, directly, literally saved them from losing business.



Technology Manufacturer Success Story – Researching New Markets Led to Competitive Differentiation

The adage “look before you leap” certainly makes sense when it comes to new market expansion. That’s why early stage market research is a very worthwhile investment.

In addition to avoiding major pitfalls, exploring the current landscape is a smart way to uncover areas of greatest opportunity.

Here’s a perfect example…

Recently, we worked with a global manufacturer looking to expand their services. Specifically, they wanted to add an integrated solution for their core market.

This initiative made sense. Their reputation was stellar and their current product line was a natural fit for this market. But before moving forward, they took the time to conduct an in-depth market assessment. This gave them a first-hand look at customer expectations and the degree of satisfaction with current vendors.

Research revealed what was currently marketed as an ‘integrated solution’ wasn’t truly integrated in the minds of customers. While they offered quality design, equipment and installation, most vendors used third party components which they assumed no responsibility for.

Therefore, post-installation, ultimate accountability was non-existent. When something went wrong, customers didn’t know who to contact for help. This caused unnecessary downtime, confusion…and a lot of finger pointing.

This market desperately needed a vendor who would provide a consistent, single point of contact from conception and beyond.

Obtaining this vital information allowed our client to…

  • Pinpoint a critical market need they could effectively address
  • Establish a true point of difference from their competitors
  • Create a compelling message to communicate this difference to target customers

By understanding the bigger picture from the customers’ perspective, our client identified a great opportunity – one that competitors had missed because they were focused only on their specific link in the value chain.

Page 3 of 3123