Catchment Engagement: They say that ‘Retail is all about Location and Catchment’. Radio has a phenomenal power of bringing in the Location (that is, through the Catchment) Engagement that retailers try to achieve each day. This is true for the entire service industry, which may require content to be customised to location/ catchment, thereby creating connect. For example, a retailer could give a catchment specific offer to customers, wherein through an SMS-based radio contest, the customers get a unique code that would be valid for say 60 minutes and assures a surprise gift on shopping in that catchment store within 60 minutes. Here, the customers could call back the RJ from the store and give their reactions Live. A contest of this kind allows instant reaction and gratification and has a potential to generate tremendous excitement amongst listeners. Or take the example of a catchment bookstore (partnering a radio channel) running a CSR programme urging customers to return their old books, which would be used to create a free local library for underprivileged children. Radio can be used as a way of increasing participation. There are many ways in which radio and services can combine to deliver value in a local catchment.
Two-Way Communication: Radio is also instrumental in seeding word-of-mouth very effectively since the medium facilitates two-way communication, and also most RJs are also local influencers. For the launch of one our Shoppers Stop stores, we invited our First Citizen loyalty programme members to take a first look at the store. Through a radio tie-up, the RJ went Live at our event and captured reactions of the customers, which ensured us good number of walk-ins rest of the week. This also generated huge word of mouth and empathy in the new catchment. There are immense ways through two-way communication that brands can increase engagement.
In Store Radio: Worldwide large retail chains have an exclusive in-store radio that besides playing music updates customers about current happenings at the store – offers, new launches, etc. This is also practiced at Shoppers Stop stores and handful of other retailers. This format has been created specifically keeping in mind the brand’s positioning and the ambience that it presents to our customers, and can be customised at individual catchment level. It takes into account the customers’ choice of music, the influence it has on their shopping behaviour as well as the upgradation that it provides to the store ambience. There are a number of retail studies that indicate that the length of time the customer spends shopping is directly proportional to the transaction size – and hence, the need to create this ambience. The radio industry must find a way of working together with retailers and leveraging platforms like this for mutual benefit.
Locational SMM Marketing thru Technology: Radio and its intersection with SMM is set for a revolution in India. While Internet radio is still finding its way out in India, convergence with the SMM platforms is still an area yet to be explored. SMM platforms such as Foursquare.com could find convergence with radio content. For example, the Foursquare Mayor to the Shoppers Stop Chembur store could give his views on a new offer launched at the store through a radio station and not just on the Internet. Technology is getting locational too with GPS enabled hand phones becoming popular, a person driving by Bandra could be beamed location specific offers easily. With SMM becoming more ‘locational’ – I am sure the radio industry can find ways of creating value to brands by finding an overlap.
In sum, I believe the radio industry can go a long way in truly partnering brands, especially in the area of Catchment Engagement, and thereby creating value for both.
(Vinay Bhatia is Customer Care Associate & VP – Marketing & Loyalty, Shopper’s Stop Ltd.)