Does your shopper marketing begin and end in-store? Big mistake!

Shopper marketing is gaining momentum as consumer and trade marketers recognize the potential to gain sustainable results in terms of profitability, brand value, and customer relationships. And that’s great! We’re thrilled that the industry is waking up to the reality that the old system isn’t working. We’ve been working at shopper marketing long enough to know that, when done correctly, the results are transformational.

But a common misconception we’re seeing is that these same marketers see shopper marketing and in-store marketing as one and the same. And that is a gross misconception!

You’ve probably heard the statistics being touted as a majority of purchasing decisions being made in-store. We’ve seen numbers like 55 percent, 63 percent, and 71 percent. Pick a number. Because they are meaningless to the marketer.

What do these numbers mean? Well, here are a few things to consider:

  • In-store influence varies from category to category. In some categories, like electronics, about 90 percent of shoppers purchase the brand they intended to buy when they entered the store; in effect, there was no in-store influence. Research has shown us that shoppers spend about 27 seconds choosing FMCG  in-store, so how much impact is the store environment having?
  • The statistic is tainted. Does this mean that 71 percent of the total number of shoppers make all of their purchasing decisions in-store, or do shoppers as a whole make 71 percent of their choices in the aisles? Can you afford to guess the interpretation?
  • If you rely on in-store to make your impact, you’ve waited too long. The reason that shoppers make quick decisions is two-fold. Either (1) they have been so influenced by the brand’s marketing message that they go straight for the product; or (2) they have been completely unimpressed with any particular brand so the choice doesn’t matter, which means they will often choose the cheapest, if there is no other distinction.

Consider the in-store merchandising as the last mile along the path to purchase, not the threshold to the opportunity. Take the time to build influence along the way, in places where many of these buying choices are made. Invest in understanding both your consumer and your shopper—and know that they are frequently not the same person. If you lump your brand into an over-arching statistic, that is what you will be. A statistic.

Have you implemented shopper marketing into your overall system? What challenges do you have that might be addressed through shopper marketing? We welcome your questions and ideas!

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4 thoughts on “Does your shopper marketing begin and end in-store? Big mistake!

  1. Hi I was just browsing through through wordpress. I agree with your article that marketing should not start and end in at the retail level, but the power of in store marketing shouldnt be marginalized. POS if used correctly proves to have heavy influence in building brand message and loyalty through its ability to directly promote to the custoemr every single time they pass your brand and your competitiors.

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    • Hi and thanks for your comment. We would certainly agree that the power of in-store marketing should not be marginalized – indeed in our experience by effectively understanding the entire shopper journey the impact of in-store work can be magnified, through better linkage and better targeting.

      We’d also agree that there is a role “when used correctly” for POSM in brand building, though to be fair in many categories this role is marginal. The challenge we find is in what we see as largely indiscriminate usage of POSM, without clear thought or targeting, and often just a replication of the consumer message in a shopper format. Like all good marketing tools, the important point is “when used correctly” as you point out.

      Thanks for reading, thanks for contributing, keep in touch!

      Mike

  2. Hi Mike,
    Recently I came across with your organization while on the web. First let me congratulate you and Toby on building an excellent organization that besides other things focuses on Shopper marketing. Engage’s shopper marketing blog and knowledge center are excellent resources to learn, share and grow.

    I completely agree with you on this post. Shopper marketing is both pre-store and in-store. In-fact In-store is the last lap in the path to purchase. However, the effect of this last lap also varies from category to category and similarly the impact of different in-store marketing elements also varies.
    Technology and tools are in place that can measure and validate that in-store influences do vary from category to category. One such work is undertaken by the VideoMining Corporation in the US.
    VideoMining Corporation is the leading provider of in-store intelligence for consumer product manufacturers and retailers. VideoMining’s breakthrough in-store measurement technology and analytics platform is based on patented, proprietary software for converting in-store video into rich statistical data on shopper behavior and demographics.
    It is for the first time that this technology will be able to provide unprecedented visibility into the Path-to-Purchase and Moments of Truth of grocery shoppers and systematically measure how people shop the grocery stores by creating new shopper marketing metrics (exposure, engagement and purchase conversion) and providing game-changing insights for example answers to the following questions:
    • What is the exposure and engagement response for each category?
    • Where are the lost opportunities along the path to purchase for each category?
    • How do the category shopper metrics compare with department and store averages?
    • How does shopper engagement vary across the categories in the portfolio?
    • In which categories do shoppers deliberate more?
    Similarly lot of research has been done in understanding the effectiveness of different in-store marketing elements for example:
    • Effectiveness of in-store sampling in generating trial and other benefits of in-store sampling (By Promoworks).
    • To determine whether or not in-line display fi¬xturing and messaging increases brand and category(cereal) sales and drives acceptable ROI(By Shopper gauge).
    • Retail TV effectiveness by Nielsen in-store media study.
    • Variety of work done by Sheridan Global which is a UK based retail research specialist working in shopper insight, layout testing and test marketing.
    In the end I would like to say that 27 seconds is the avg. time that consumers spend choosing an FMCG product in store. I think you are referring this from VideoMining’s center store study that provides shopping time distribution in seconds. The biggest caveat about this number is it represents an average for all type of trips (quick, fill-in and major stock-ups). I believe for fill-in and major stock-ups shoppers do have a little bit more time for exposure, engagement and conversion. Thanks,

    • Dear Humayan,

      Thanks for your kind words and contribution. I will go and search out more about VideoMining; as one of the frustrations of so much video research is that it lacks the robustness of data.
      And yes, 27 seconds is an average. As with all marketing averages don’t actually exist!
      All the best

      Mike

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