Evolution of Shopper Marketing: What Works Best Today

Evolution of Shopper Marketing: What Works Best Today

September 2, 2015

Shopper marketing is a broad topic focused on understanding how the target shopper behaves in different channels and formats.  It’s essential to understand that the consumer and the shopper are not always the same.   The consumer actually uses the product (a dog eating dog food) but the shopper is the one who actually makes the purchase (dog owner).  This article will touch on the evolution of shopper marketing, where we are today and some tips on how to best utilize your skills for success in this area.

Some of the more recent shopper marketing focus has been to reach shoppers on their path to purchase. What does this mean?  Think about what’s on shoppers minds when they are planning and executing their grocery trip: coupons, shopping lists, meal planning, events or holidays, reviewing previous receipts, health conditions, comparing prices, searching the web for recipes and inspiration, etc.   Understanding how your shopper approaches these topics and how you might intercept them can help you impact their purchase decisions, increasing sales of healthier items and creating a positive ROI for your retail RDN programs and services. 

Another important piece to consider is creating shopper solutions. Shoppers rarely purchase just one item. Shopper solutions must deliver value beyond the products themselves and price promotions. Solutions based marketing improves manufacturers’ relationships with the retailer, and vice versa, as well as delivering increases in sales growth and/or enhanced ROI for the retailer. Key metrics to be aware of, such as basket size, wallet share, and average ticket, are perfectly aligned with solutions-based marketing and merchandising. Maybe it’s the convenience of a pre-selected healthy meal solution, complete with tips from the dietitian. Purchases could be easily tracked, and could lead to more dietitian-led solutions. 

Insights from The Path to Purchase Institute’s CEO Peter Hoyt are also salient. As the marketplace continues to expand, the need for existing retailers to differentiate their product offerings has become even greater. Offering exclusive products can help build loyal shoppers and pre-empt the price comparison game. Look for ways to build collaborative programs, products, and shopper solutions – think specific flavors, combinations, recipes, etc. that are unique to your store or city’s culture. Coloring these with the dietitian lens adds another differentiating factor, building loyalty.  

An excellent example of how to pull it all together can be found in Layering Techniques and Co-Marketing Partnerships: 

Is your retailer planning a canned foods or pantry stock-up sale? Consider developing a co-marketing overlay with industry partners such as Cans Get You Cooking, Canned Foods Alliance and vendor suppliers of healthful canned staples such as soup, beans, tomatoes and other canned vegetables and fruits. As a layering technique, you can work with your merchandising team to create an in-store display of featured items and create point-of-purchase signage. Partner with your social media team to create a recipe contest and require that entrants include of at least one canned food ingredient. Encourage participants to submit a photo of their prepared dish and allow customers to vote for their favorite entry to further enhance customer engagement. Send a free Guide to Stocking a Healthy Pantry to all participants and develop a prize structure for random drawings or top votes.

There is a lot to learn when it comes to shopper marketing; luckily most retailers will have teams to tackle this vertical. That being said, its imperative the retail RD is in the loop on upcoming promotions and planning as there will always be a way to use their expertise to make the event or promotion more well-rounded and enticing to shoppers.