Brick & Mortar Isn’t Dead | Insights From Vega’s Trade Marketing Manager

By BrainStation October 20, 2015

Vega products on display.

Amelia Thorn, Trade Marketing Manager at Vega, joined us at BrainStation Vancouver for a Lunch & Learn focused on Trade Marketing at Vega. Here are some of our takeaways.

To begin with, all Vega employees believe in a healthy lifestyle and plant-based diet. In other words, every team member acts as a brand ambassador, something we’re seeing more and more of (Lululemon, for example). Brendan Brazier, the man behind the Vega vision, was told that a plant-based diet wouldn’t ‘cut it’ for an athlete’s diet. Between him and Charles Chang, they responded by developing Vega, a plant-based protein powder.

You have to start with product standards. Vega’s vision: Empower the world to thrive. This determines what brands Vega partners with and shapes all marketing efforts.

The Key Pillars

Relationships – building and maintaining relationships with consumers

Design – what’s in store, signage, how to speak to the consumer

Channels – natural speciality (Whole Foods, for example), FDM (Target, Walmart), Club Channel (Costco), and online. This requires specialists to manage each channel.

Promotions – understanding what promotions to pull within each channel. Was that coupon or digital marketing campaign successful? If not, how can we make it better?

Community – take advantage of the community through ambassadors to draw on different demographics.

Shopper Marketing Experts – they pull the levers that a consumer touches to move them down the purchasing funnel.

Contrary to popular belief, Brick and Mortar is still a thing!

  • 80% of purchase decisions are made in store, and 62% are impulse driven from signage, brand messaging and special offers.
  • The average purchase decision takes 30 seconds, the average amount for an online, radio or TV ad. What Vega does for the shelf experience is just as important as any media spend
  • 140 million US customers go to Walmart at least once a week…that’s a lot of foot traffic!

Today’s Journey

  • ‘Top-up shopping’ vs. ‘stock-up shopping’ – people aren’t bringing shopping lists into stores
  • The average shopper visits 3.5 different stores/week
  • 80% of shoppers now travel less than a mile, 57% on foot
  • 25% of food purchased is consumed in the same day
  • Over 89% of customers do not visit all isles in the store

The state of retail in 2016

  1. Boomers and Millennials will continue to heavily influence retail.
  2. Social networks will serve as shopping platforms. Facebook, Pinterest and more now have ‘buy it’ buttons.
  3. 83% of female millennials will voice their opinion of their shopping experience on social media.
  4. The points-for-purchase model will no longer be effective as they are too laborious. Amazon Prime loses $2 million a year through this service, but they make it up with the increase in sales associated with it.
  5. More e-commerce sites will open up flagship stores, such as Warby Parker and Amazon. It allows brands to engage with a consumer on a more one-to-one level, and allows them to explore and experiment and get real-time feedback. Despite online growth, the majority of sales happen offline.
  6. Retailers that localize their product mix and store formats will win. Examples are McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.
  7. Real time wins. Look at the Starbucks app – everything happens in real-time. Last quarter, the Starbucks app brought in 25% of their revenue. Chipotle is also good at this, as does Target’s in-store app, Cartwheel. Cartwheel users spend 31% more in-store.
  8. Tech will streamline all assets of the in-store experience. Tech and service are where brands can differentiate themselves.

Transformation Check-Out

  • Aisles trumped by open interactive experiences
  • Virtual try-on
  • Body scan technology
  • Personalization
  • Social medialized technology
  • Check out lines will be obsolete
  • Seamless online scheduling
  • Ultimately, the customer will be in control of the amount and timing of interactions to allow for an ideal low-friction experience

What is iBeacon from Apple? A location based promotion vehicle that tells retailers where shoppers are in the store, their path, items they have looked at and what they purchase. It sends shoppers promotional deals in real-time – almost all major brands are looking to invest in this new technology, including MLB and Macy’s.

Lab Innovation

  • Brands are building targeted innovation labs, focusing on virtual reality, robotics, internet of things (wearables and connected devices), and digital activations (beacons and location technology)
  • Examples include the Amazon Lab 126 + A9, Wakefield, Walmart Lab, and Visa Exchange

Vega is a manufacturer that provides product while simultaneously working with companies to create heightened, seamless consumer experiences. For example, Whole Foods and Vega launched a smoothie bar where Vega took over the in-store experience, taking over the elevator with strategic branding knowing it received the most traffic.

Redefining The Store – we need to rethink the goals and success metrics of the store

At the end of the day, you will never beat the cost-per-square foot of a website.

Be sure to check out our upcoming events for more talks like this!

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