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!