By Steve McClellan
Interpublic's Mediabrands and AOL said at Cannes Monday that they are partnering on a new online retail marketing initiative.
The initiative is designed to glean greater insights into how consumers do research before making product purchases. The partners said they will use the insights to create new digital tools and programs to help boost the efficiency of marketing campaigns and increase sales. The partnership will be coordinated through a "retail advisory board" comprised of members from both companies that will be set up in the coming weeks.
Research conducted by the IPG Lab—about how consumers learn about products and pricing and other factors relevant in making decisions to buy products—will be used to develop new online marketing tools and advertising programs. They will be tested later in the year with five retail marketers via AOL media channels, while IPG hyper-local planning and buying unit Geomentum will help track sales results at the store level.
Initial research from the Lab shows that shoppers do extensive homework before making purchases, and seek comparative pricing and feature comparison options, coupon integration, store locations and more from their pre-shopping queries. The research also indicates that consumers prefer a "one-stop" source for conducting purchase-related research.
Commenting on the partnership, John Ross, president of the IPG Lab, said, "Consumers' needs evolve on a daily basis, and through the explosion of technology, their shopping habits have been radically altered. … Increasingly, retailers want to replicate the sustained effects of newspaper advertising through other mediums. Together with AOL, we want to identify important trends and help retail marketers improve return on their collective retail marketing efforts."
Added Erin Clift, senior vice president of global sales at AOL: "Clearly, shoppers' needs have evolved faster than the advertising technology. By utilizing our collective resources, we can reinvent retail pre-shopping online, and work to create a more efficient and effective solution for retailers."