Important lessons about how technology facilitates innovative ways to reach customers were shared at the SA Shopper Path to Purchase 2017 conference recently. Held at the Bryanston Country Club, this year marks the 10th annual event. Here are some of the key insights that were shared:

1. Customers search for value
Consumer confidence is waning and people are more price sensitive, prioritising essentials and searching for value. While there is still a place for premium products, there is an increase in dealer-owned brands. Identifying unmet needs can help manufacturers succeed during these tough times.

2. Purchases are emotional
Mark Drummand, co-founder of neuromarketing consultancy, Neural Sense, said that emotions subconsciously drive 95% of human behaviour. Significant improvements in sales can be achieved, for example, from a well-designed point of sale.

3. Maximise Return on Investment with technology
It is crucial for retailers to think about how technology can be used to make the shopping process easier and to shed light on what is no longer working instore. Beacon technology and RFID tags, for example, can map the path to purchase and all the influences that customers are exposed to along the way.

4. Media in malls is important
Within shopping centres, media serves to inform, educate, engage and persuade visitors and customers. John Faia, general manager of MallAds, advises a mix of physical and digital media, as well as brand experiences. Malls campaigns provide brands with the opportunity to engage with shoppers in a way that doesn’t feel like traditional advertising.

5. Earn the love of your target audience
Brand involvement improves attendance at meetings and provides a platform for activations and sampling. Brands can become involved in communities by sponsoring talks, entertainment and skills development programmes, for example.

6. Target millennials
Millennials are digital natives and this group represents a large part of the population. What matters is dividing this broad group into life stages.

7. Incorporate augmented reality
There are a host of new technologies in the mobile space allowing for innovative campaigns, avenues for engagement and data-driven insights. Some of the technologies brands should consider include augmented reality, chatbots and Bluetooth beacons.

8. Use big data
In order to compete against industry giants, smaller businesses (which don’t generate enough data on their own) need to look into ways of aggregating and consolidating data using cloud solutions, said Dana Buys, CEO of CloudOne.mobi.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.mediaupdate.co.za for the information contained in this article.