#10Q: Primedia’s investment in retail solutions

Primedia Retail CEO JD Henderson unpacks the new rebrand of Primedia Unlimited to Primedia Retail.

Primedia’s niche, out of home media arm, Primedia Unlimited, has a new name: Primedia Retail. Primedia Retail’s CEO JD Henderson, says the move came on the back of vigorous sales in the FMCG and pharmaceutical retail sectors over the last few years – but especially in 2020. Businesses retained within Primedia Retail include: Primedia Instore, X/procure Software, XP Digital, XP Liquor and TLC Media. The latter two specialise in the liquor EDI market and targeted lifestyle communications, respectively. Key clients include Pick ‘n Pay, Clicks, Dis-Chem and Spar.

JD Henderson.
1. Why the rebrand?

When I took over at Primedia Unlimited three years ago, the division was fragmented. We needed to find common ground to differentiate us from everyone out there. To position ourselves in a unique environment and create talkability, we rebranded to Primedia Retail, due to the strong channel in retail advertising investment. We were ready to go in February 2020 with our big launch and then Covid hit and we paused on the rebrand and did a lot of outreach to our clients end-2020; and decided to relaunch the brand now.

2. What changed in the retail sector?

Ahead of Covid, traditional media ATL started suffering and there was a big shift to online. This rebrand for us came at the right time. Clients were disinvesting from advertising to save marketing spend. There was a big drive into the retail environment, specifically grocery and pharmacy, and it counted in our favour when other ATL mainstream media took a cut.

3. What are the latest shopper trends you are seeing?

Brands can now own the shopper journey throughout, creating multiple touchpoints for the consumer; the shopping trend has changed from big regional malls to the strip malls closer to our homes; and healthcare and related products understandably did particularly well, with consumers spending on items which would keep them healthy during the pandemic.

4. And what are you doing to meet client demands?

The idea is you walk into retailers and are targeted on shelf, in store, with POS, digital billboards, everything including loyalty programmes. We commercialise every point of the shopper journey. It’s in the integration. We now drive innovation in store; and we manage in store booking centrally so stores are not as cluttered. We understand each brand’s strategy and we can identify multiple touchpoints which would benefit the brand and retailer.

5. What exactly is it you do – your key services?

Primedia Retail’s advertising platforms are positioned in areas with high frequency of visits, coupled with high dwell times such as dispensary queues, washrooms, gyms and checkout areas. Our platforms not only cover the last mile but also the last yard in store, giving advertisers the opportunity to engage with the consumer at multiple touchpoints. Clover launched a product extension of one of their milks and in the yoghurt category. They coincided that with an online competition with Pick n Pay Smart Shopper, coupled with on shelf media, and into Fresh Living publication. Part of the launch was a recipe to use the product. Recipes by a famous chef and rewards and a competition added value. The company also offers retail clients, FMCG companies and their agencies a range of reliable measurement tools that provide a multi-dimensional and multi-level view of the consumer; while bespoke technologies ensure accuracy and real-time information for accountable media installations.

6. How is in store media still working despite reduced shopper visits in lockdowns?

Demand for turnkey targeted and in store promotion and advertising solutions, particularly in the last mile – while the customer is in the buying frame of mind – has been high. Rand for Rand we can show significant return on investment, which other out of home advertising platforms have been struggling to prove.

7. Describe the transformation of the industry?

The interesting thing is the retailers have become more agile. I came back from an overseas trip looking at retail innovations, infected with Covid. My experience as a family in hard lockdown early on, in quarantine, was that we couldn’t get any grocery deliveries in under a month. Luckily, we had good friends who did our grocery shopping for us. Now, I can get my groceries within an hour in urban areas. Online shopping is here to stay. It is more convenient for consumers.

8. How has the pandemic impacted shopper behaviour?

Initially the average basket size decreased and impulse buys decreased. People were buying for two weeks at a time, so they don’t have to frequent the stores. There will be a return to normality in terms of consumers going back to stores. People like to see and touch product. The trends we are looking at predict that online sales are expected to grow by 4% this year of total retail sales, which is a sizeable chunk. In terms of what we are seeing, the biggest growth in online shopping is in alcohol, snacks and personal care products.

9. What does the future hold in the retail sector?

Omnichannel marketing: it is about enhancing the experience for the consumer. Where the retailers can make a difference is to do something about their return policies – if I was an apparel retailer, I would include a return slip for the product. Don’t make it gimmicky. Keep it simple. Make sure the process from purchasing becomes seamless and encouraging, i.e., suggest their shopping list that they always buy. There is also an opportunity for cross marketing to grow the shopping basket. Campaigns must have value and promotions must have follow through. Retailers need to look at their unique value proposition – often the customer experience is outsourced to a third party (through deliveries).

10. What does a post-Covid marketplace look like?

We are looking at enhancing market opportunities in retail environments. Do we take it more digital to make it less intrusive? For example, technology in gondola ends can pick up whether a male or female shopper is approaching and change the creative according to the target market. We are trialing that. Digital can change the model for advertising as brands could end up paying per click in in store advertising.

Main image credit: Primedia Retail.


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