Madhavi Tumkur
Sep 23, 2010

Lowe launches new retail activation arm Open in Asia

ASIA-PACIFIC - Lowe has chosen Asia as the launch pad for its new retail activation arm, Open, and aims to include over 20 markets in its network by January 2011.

Open is Lowe's new retail activation initiative
Open is Lowe's new retail activation initiative

In an exclusive interview with Campaign, chairman of Lowe, Tony Wright, said, “Open’s multi-country network launch kick-starts with Shanghai today, concurrent with Bangkok, Jakarta, London, Prague and Sao Paolo.”

Quoting his reasons for launching it in Shanghai, Wright said, “Asia is leading in consumer behaviour with a multitude of choices and a high degree of adaptation to the internet. At the same time, it has a diverse retail environment including rural market, online market and corner shops that gain customer trust over a period of time. Our aim with Open is to be able to understand the consumer psychology at the same time integrate ground activation, digital, below the line and promotional offering that is delivered in a creative manner.”  

Explaining his reasons for initiating Open, Wright stated, “We have a roster of international retail brands who want to go beyond a campaign and really understand the purchase decisions of its customers. As more and more brands wish to enter Asian markets, they would like to understand the retail behaviour of its consumers, for their brand to be presented in a certain manner and finally deliver it on ground.”
 
To do this, Lowe has engaged brand strategist Michele O’Neill as the global strategy head, who will oversee the teams spread across the different cities.
 
O’Neill believes that the retail environment has become so complex that it is important to have ‘precision creativity’ in being able to influence a consumer’s decision. “It is an outcome-based precision planning which is able to track a consumer decision from selection to purchase.”
 
She added, “No doubt advertising and branding are necessary but it is also necessary to understand a consumer’s purchase behaviour from point-of-sale perspective and not just in terms of marketing its product offering. As the consumer becomes sophisticated, we are seeing an emergence of behaviourial economics.”

Lowe has therefore formed a partnership with the eminent behavioural economist, Professor Ziv Carmon. Leading Marketing at INSEAD Singapore, Professor Carmon is an expert in human judgment and decision-making. He’ll be working with Open to explore brands, environments and consumers across a number of categories.

Open launches in Shanghai, Bangkok and Jakarta on the 23 September, in London on 24 September, in Prague on the 27 September and finally in Sao Paolo on the 29 September.

By January 2011, Lowe aims to have Open in over 20 markets across the globe.

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