The spending power of the female shopper in SA is undebatable in today's retail environment. From FMCG and healthcare, to banking, car purchases and insurance, the need to understand this female shopper mindset has never been greater. The reality is, however, that conventional research methods that are usually based in controlled, sterile, and somewhat scary, environments, often restrict the levels of honesty and reality women are willing to share. "This is severely limiting brands' ability to uncover powerful insights that help them actually sell more smartly," states Mimi Nicklin, 34's Strategic Director and founder of the Council.
To 34's knowledge, The Council of Women is Africa's first ever women-only social shopper research portal and it was created to specifically address the need for valid insights into the everyday path to purchase and shopping behaviour of this target market. The Council is a social platform where women can chat and share with each other, as well as with 34, and do so in the knowledge that their opinions are rewarded with further aids to make their shopping easier and more rewarding (via coupons, vouchers and free gifts) - making it a win-win concept for both shopper and agency.
This initiative gives women an incentivised platform to share the reality they are faced with when they approach an aisle bursting with conflicting promotional offerings, how they choose "the best"
and what loyalty cards really mean to them. The portal is informative, interactive and rewarding, meaning women are openly sharing their opinions and personal truths across an array of topics. Whether its their frustration with "ATM dawdlers"
that enlongate their shopper trip, or their opinions on feminine hygiene products that display happy women frolicking in flower-filled grasslands.
The Council of Women, which lives on Facebook
and Mxit, allows its 11,300 users to dictate how they want to be spoken to by brands when deciding if they are worthy of their hard-earned cash. "The Council of Women has been able to bring to light some incredibly compelling and intuitive insights that we would never have otherwise known were effecting shopping decisions,"
said Nicklin. "This is an 'all in' effort to help our clients understand their shopper base and to develop creative work that helps us move from the 'airtime promo' mindset and start creating work that really understands what women want when they shop."