Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 15



global marketing group and also CMO of Asda, told
me he had an opening for me because I understood
how things work in advertising & media, Walmart
and the UK.
A move back to Europe wasn't part of my plan, but
it was the best decision I've ever made - personally,
because my family has such happy memories, and
professionally, because I'd done shopper, CPG and
brand marketing by then, but while working at
Asda I fell in love with retail marketing. My role
expanded to just about everything: marketing
strategy, advertising, commercials, insights, pricing,
After two years, I came back and was promoted
to vice president, U.S. marketing, general
merchandising, softlines & services. After a few
years, I moved into a customer experience role.


some of our stores as well because some oversized
items don't fit in the tower.
We now offer drive-through grocery pick-up in
1,100 stores. We call that the "killer app" because
customers love it so much. They go on social media
and tell their friends that they're grocery shopping
in their pajamas.
One of the small but very important things
customers told us is that they want to be able to
order "eaches" - produce by the piece. When we
started out, we were offering produce by the pound,
but a pound of jalapeno peppers, for example, is a
whole lot of peppers. Another element that we've
added for customers is the ability to designate items
and brands that they'd accept as a substitute for the

SOHOSKY: We introduced "Holiday Helpers" or
A "Happy
to Helpers" - the people in yellow vests -

kinds of "customer experiences"
Q What
have you been most focused on?
Our foundational shopper work led
to today. We are spending a lot of time study-

als, but Millennials are becoming a larger part of
the spending power in America. And Millennials
actually like and need Walmart more than a lot of
people think. They're entering a life stage where
they have more kids and more demands on their
dollars, so services like online grocery pickup becomes a game-changer for a busy family.


Are you involved in the evaluation of
concept formats like the Neighborhood

I look at the end-to-end customer exA SOHOSKY:
perience no matter how she shops us, so concepts
like the Neighborhood Market have to be included
because she expects consistency.
is the in-store pickup of e-commerce
Q How
program going?
SOHOSKY: You can now pick up general merA chandise
and consumable items in every store. And

we've introduced other ways to make it even quicker, such as automated pickup towers, which can retrieve orders, literally, in a matter of seconds. We're
trying lots of things. You may have seen lockers in

Q How is self-checkout going?
We're still testing Scan & Go. We want
to give people options. We are still perfecting the

in 2016, such as opening more checkout

did it, but we didn't. Andy really pushed us to have
a view of how our shoppers shop all brands and all
categories across the entire store and site. We unlocked our key retail moments of truth that shaped
our plans in marketing and across many parts of the

SOHOSKY: We define our strategic, target cusA tomer
as "the busy family." It's not only Millenni-

will expand grocery home delivery services to more
than 100 metro areas this year.

talked about some "old school" ideas
Q You
at your Path to Purchase Expo keynote

SOHOSKY: When I came back, shopper marketing
A wasn't
really a thing at Walmart. All of our suppliers

Where do Millennials fit into your

the Lyft/Uber delivery test still
Q Isunderway?
Yes, and we are excited to continue
to test in that space. In fact, we just announced we

experience on your phone versus the in-store handheld. But we are committed, and we're rolling it out
to another 100 stores right now.

You and Andy Murray have been credited
with raising shopper marketing's profile at
Walmart. Was that part of your mission?

ing which journeys matter most to our customers.
We're looking specifically at two big areas. One is
the "purchase journey" - the trips where customers
purchase goods or services. Do they do it all instore, or all online, or do they mix it up? Of course,
that mixture is almost endless, as you could be
doing research online, building a list online but
printing it out and heading to the store, or it could
all be ordered online but picked up in-store.
The second area is what we call "service-recovery
journey." These might be a product return, or
you're canceling an online order, or resetting your
password. So while we have people working on all
of the "vertical" areas involved in her experience -
planning, shopping, picking up, paying, using - we
need to better understand how she interacts with
us, which is horizontally. We're trying to discover
what our "true north" should be in this space to
deliver a great customer experience.

item ordered. For example, some people absolutely
insist on Diet Coke only, but others are OK with
Diet Pepsi as a substitute. So we've worked those
options into the ordering menu. It's really important
to give the customer control at the beginning of the
process so it's a better overall experience.


VP, marketing, customer experience,
Walmart U.S.


University of Missouri-Columbia
(bachelor's, journalism)


vice president, marketing, customer
experience, Walmart (January
2015-present); VP, marketing - small
formats, services & omnichannel,
Walmart (June 2014-January 2015); VP,
U.S. marketing - general merchandise,
softlines & apparel, Walmart (February
2013-June 2014); head of marketing
strategy & advertising - Asda/UK,
Walmart (June 2011-February 2013);
head of advertising and media - Asda/
UK, Walmart (January 2011-June
2011); senior director marketing Walmart Brand, Walmart U.S. (October
2008-January 2011); senior director
marketing - international, Walmart
(November 2006-October 2008);
category marketing director, Campbell
Soup Co. (1998-2006); media planner,
TBWA\Chiat\Day (1993-1994).

two years ago. They are now there, year-round, to
point shoppers to the shortest lines and, in some
cases, they also can open another register if there
are more than two people in a line.
We're also close to releasing new features in our
app that will make shopping in-store easier. There
will be an enhanced item locator, an enhanced list
maker, and a better presentation mode when you
are in-store that's designed to help you navigate
and shop.
can brands do to help you in this
Q What
SOHOSKY: The key words that they should take
A away
are our focus on customer "journeys" and

"experiences." And this involves a whole lot more
than just suggesting signage. I suggest to brands
that they need to be thinking about creating engaging moments that give customers a reason to go to
our stores.
Here's another thing: Let's test and learn. You
don't have to do everything at scale all at once.

Q What's next?
As I mentioned before, our group's
focus has evolved from understanding the shopper

to looking at the end-to-end customer experience
from the point of view of the customer - not operations, not business, not what we think, but what the
customer thinks. And in December, they asked me
to expand that project. It's a two- to three-year assignment because there's a lot to do. I'll be reporting
to our CMO, Tony Rogers.
you been doing this sort of thing all
Q Hadn't
Yes and no. We've built a foundation,
but now I'll be stepping back from focusing primar-

ily on the stores, and instead I'll be looking at the
entire retail landscape. The store will still play a big
role in shopping in the future, but we have to reimagine and redefine it: Why is she going to come?
What does she want to do? What kinds of experiences will matter?
Our shopper has higher expectations and more
choices, and it involves a lot more than just the
emergence of e-commerce. Technology is changing
how the customer experiences us. She thinks her
journey should be a more consistent and more
elevated experience with less friction than she has
today. We didn't have anyone that really owned
that view. We have a lot of people doing really great
work vertically, but the shopper interacts with us
horizontally, and we need to knit that all together
for her.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shopper Marketing - May 2018

Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - Intro
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 1
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 2
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - Contents
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 4
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 5
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 6
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 7
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 8
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