As customers go shopping, not retailing

I refer to David Wethey’s article “a new moment of truth for the traditional approach” (MW May 18). At first I applauded the piece based on the fact that the industry seems to be waking up to the idea that customers don’t see the distinctions between our so-called channels. Then I realised that David had managed to write a lengthy piece about a customer’s journey towards consumption, but had only used the word shopping once.

And this for me is the crux of our problem. Campaigns are created without the team ever leaving their desk (and going online doesn’t count). I dread to think what would happen to them if they actually shopped for the product, watched people shop for the product or even heard the tills ring.

We need to get down to the basics. People shop, they don’t retail. They buy, not consume. Only when you start to think in these terms can you begin to truly understand your consumers and lead them on a journey that takes them not only to the front door of a shop but all the way to a till clutching your brand to their heart.

If you believe the POP specialists that 80% of purchase decisions are made in store, then advertising agencies have to wake up to this reality. As a new creative agency I am staggered to find myself running one of the few agencies that is dedicated to shopping. Yes shopping, not retailing.

Sue Benson

Managing director

Creative consultants

The Market Place

Cheshire

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