Defining Shopper Marketing

Defining Shopper Marketing

July 31, 2013
Retail Industry Insights

Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FADA
Executive Director, RDBA

Consider these statistics:

  • 70% of purchase decisions are made in the store
  • 68% of purchases are impulse buys
  • 68% of shoppers are brand switchers
  • only 26% of consumers are loyal to a retailer
  • only 5% of shoppers are brand loyal
  • consumers are hit with 3,000 marketing messages a day
  • the average grocery store offers more than 40,000 items

These data, reported in Shopper Marketing: Capturing a Shopper’s Mind, Heart and Wallet, stress the importance of understanding the shopper and what makes him make the choices he does.  Defining how the shopper shops is the hottest trend in marketing, and has been coined shopper marketing.  Both food retailers and manufacturers alike are creating job positions, roles and teams under the banner of shopper marketing, all with an end goal of increasing sales. 

While many detailed definitions of this term exist, shopper marketing means understanding the path to a consumer purchase and how you can impact this path to get them to purchase the product you want them to buy.  Consider, for example, the number of products in a category a shopper considers before making a decision.  What makes Millennial mom look at three cereals?  Why does she buy none of the three and opt to buy a fourth choice?  Is it the packaging?  A promotional price?  An end cap display?  A recommendation by a retail dietitian?  Another element to understanding the shopper purchase pathway is the type of shopping trip, whether it’s a grab-and-go stop, a panty stock-up or something in between.  Additionally, the consumer and the shopper are not necessarily the same.  Think of pets.  Obviously, they don’t directly control a product purchase, but whether they will eat a food or not has direct impact on whether it’s purchased in the future. 

While shopper marketing has traditionally focused on in-store marketing and promotion, it’s essential to consider the entire timeline from when the consumer first thinks about the purchase all the way through the purchase itself.  If a consumer enters a retail store, and is displeased with the cleanliness of the produce section, for example, he may choose to head elsewhere.  Best Buy changed the ceiling height and lighting in their stores, in fact, because the warehouse feel didn’t appeal to women.  

Shopper marketing is all about identifying when the consumer is in a shopping mode and what they think and feel at that exact moment in time.  Only then can you have impact on the purchase that actually gets made.

Coming in next week’s issue. . . Leveraging Shopper Marketing for Health Benefit