The Life: A shopping marketing agency executive reveals the tricks to succeeding at the Dubai Summer Surprises event.
Know your shopper to reap Dubai Summer Surprises reward
James Tracy-Inglis is the managing director of Saatchi and Saatchi X, a shopper marketing agency, in Dubai. With shopping sales forming a key part of Dubai Summer Surprises, which runs until July 14, he explains how retailers and brands can make the most of the event.
You distinguish between consumers and shoppers. What's the difference?
I consume food every day, I consume the products that I use every day but I don't go shopping every day. The difference is when you change your mindset from being a consumer of a product to a shopper. That's the mode we really like to try to influence.
Do people change the way they shop during sales?
Massively. You have people effectively competing against each other to get the best deals, to get the best products, to get the size they are after. We see a lot of frustration towards the end of big shopping festivals where people find the product they like but it's not in their size, or the colours have changed. It's not necessarily frustration against the brand but against the retailer for not being able to keep up with what is a pretty intensive demand.
This year DSS will overlap with Ramadan. How should retailers approach this?
There will be a completely different mindset between the people that come in during the day and those that come in after iftar. If you do a one-size-fits-all approach, then you may not be as successful as you'd like. There are a couple of simple things you can do but at the end of the day it's about research, about knowing your shopper. It's difficult in the Middle East when we have such a variety of nationalities. You've got to have flexibility; you've got to have staff empowerment so that they know how to greet customers in different ways. Having a smell that might make people salivate in the middle of the day is probably not best during Ramadan, but having a really beautiful smell in the evening - maybe it's coffee, maybe it's offering people some dates when they arrive at your store - is an opportunity.
How do you prepare your clients for the DSS?
DSS is great for Dubai. It stimulates the economy and people have a great time. We try to lead our clients from a year out getting them to think about what worked, what didn't so that as we get closer we can plan effective campaigns. You've got to be careful about not making it tacky. You don't want to look like you are jumping on the bandwagon and turning it into a massively commercial event.
You've got to make sure you go beyond today's sale and consider what people are doing afterwards. We want a sustained behavioural change so that when people come back to the supermarket a week later, they are still choosing your product over someone else's. We want to make sure our brands don't get really excited about a spike in sales then forget about their consumers and shoppers, only to worry about them again when the next event is on. What we really push with our clients is long-term thinking.