First moment of truth refers to the instance when your brand interacts with the shopper in store; the interaction is instantaneous, decisive and can be inflective for the brand.
As the message traffic to the consumer increases manifold (6 million an year as per estimates); media becomes more varied and fragmented; and consumers get endowed with an evolved and complicated set of media choices along with a stronger ability to filter out spam. Winning at the Point of Purchase has never been more important.
Essentially three basic barriers to bust – Availability, Visibility & Shopper Persuasion
How do I get my brand at all probable consumption and purchase points in a cost efficient manner?
This is the biggest question facing the marketers of today. The best example that comes to mind is of Coke. Available at Restaurants, super markets, convenience stores, petrol mart, cinemas, fast food joints, canteens, highway motels, trains, pubsâ€¦you name it. Superior availability is the biggest determinant of what is Coke as a brand today.
It’s not just the choice of channels; it’s also innovation that led to creating a business where none existed – e.g. Vending machines.
Superior Availability would involve efforts that are trade specific in different contexts. While some countries which have a fair amount of open trade environment; hundreds of thousands of distribution points across many small mom and pop stores – India, Philippines, Brazil and Mexico would be typical examples - it’s critical to get across to as many stores as possible (numeric distribution) and also to ensure all the more relevant and bigger stores are distributed first (ACV); the correlation between ACV and Volume share is the highest.
In a self select environment; typically organized retail in more developed countries – Singapore, Australia, US and UK; its about getting your brand listed for sale with the major retailers and having it appear in the right category shelve where the shopper expects to find it. That is a gargantuan task in itself given that most retailers strive for efficient assortment; which drives them to ensure they only carry well selling products.
Post availability a product needs to be sighted by the relevant shopper in store. This means placing your product where the shopper shops for the category/adjacent categories or at places where you are likely to intercept her.
This would entail visibility not just on shelf but also in the form of displays – at high traffic locations in store (end cap displays); smart adjacencies – e,g. chips being placed next to soft drinks (hang sells) or at impulse driving locations – chewing gums at check out counters.
In an open trade (mom and pop) context where the shopper may not even enter the store – she needs to sight your product from ‘across the counter’. Innovative display tools like – poly sleeves, hangars, product facings – on and off shelf- can then be used.
If you look at popular snacks or chocolate brands like Pringles, Lays and Cadburys’ – they would try and invest as much as possible in intercepting shoppers at point of purchase to create impulse as most of these are unplanned purchases; while a toothpaste brand like Colgate will just ensure it is very well present within its category shelf so its easy for the shopper to sight and reach. Shoppers don’t tend to buy toothpaste out of impulse.
A brand like Wrigley’s would always be present at check out counters.
Alright now you are available and visible to the shopper – but will that be enough for the shopper to pick up and pay for your product.
Your brand has to close the sale – packaging, on pack communication, claims and at times promotions help you make the sale. The shape, ergonomics, packaging, smell, size impression, claims and consistency of your brand message help you win.
Depending on the shopper segment – trial or repeat- promotions are also critical to not only get you new consumers but also keep the existing flock.
Example of a trial promotion is an introductory offer pack for newly launched anti ageing cream; that of a claim is a money back guarantee for a fat reducing recipe and that of a consumer up stocking are bigger packs (with price advantage); or a premium on pack – bowl free with a pack of Kellogg’s.