Shopper marketing is all about knowing your customers as shoppers – how and where they shop – and using that information to influence the purchasing decision. It requires research and data on shopping behaviour for different products and buying channels to direct marketing spend in the right area and to create a brand that will end up in the shopper’s basket, whether it’s online or in-store.
One experience, multiple channels
Having an insight into the actual purchasing behaviour of the shopper (rather than the usage behaviour of the consumer) adds value to the marketing strategy by enabling brand owners to influence at all stages along the decision-making process, with point of sale being the critical grand finale.
Do shoppers browse online and visit in-store before making the final decision, or vice versa? Are the digital and in-store propositions complementary and cohesive? Are both up to the job of positively influencing the purchasing decision? An integrated process is required to present a seamless brand to shoppers – across the organisation and across all marketing and buying channels – and to give them the motivation they need, where they need it most. This includes sales promotions, as well as tools such as customer ratings, loyalty schemes, sampling and point of sale advertising.
If buyers mostly purchase in-store, brand owners need to work with retailers on in-store ads, packaging, in-store placement near complementary products, sampling sessions and so on. If they mainly buy online, digital tools can be used to achieve the same result. The two channels should work together and complement each other in terms of brand presentation, particularly with the latest technology allowing for cross-channel connectivity, for example, scanning a barcode at point of sale to access online discounts.
A strategic approach
Research from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) identifies data, analytics and shopping insights as strengths of the winners in the consumer packaged goods market (http://www.gmaonline.org/file-manager/About/McKinsey_CCM_A-tight-race-in-consumer-packaged-goods-How-to-break-out-and-win-with-big-data-tools-and-insights.pdf). They use more ‘granular, geography-based and store-based, retailer specific shopper insights’ and they refresh them regularly.
This requires ongoing investment in data collection and analysis. To improve ROI, brand owners should incorporate shopper marketing within their overall marketing strategy, to ensure all activity leads shoppers down the path to making an actual purchase.