Consumer vs. Shopper – Who is the real target?
In today’s digital era, online shopping is becoming the norm. Traditional bricks and mortar retailers are combating the Internet’s convenience and practicality with the proposition of an emotionally engaging shopping experience that is difficult to replicate online. At the same time, FMCG manufacturers want to leverage the moment when shoppers are in front of the shelf – the moment of truth – by triggering the purchase with the right message to the right person at the right time and in the right place.
There are many cases in which the shopper is not the same person as the consumer, such as with snacks, cereals, medicine, alcohol, and in some cases, even automobiles. In these instances, it becomes more difficult to create an inside-the-store communication that is in line with what you are already communicating to potential consumers outside the store. So, whom do you target?
The connection between consumers and shoppers is based on the fact that, in the end, they are both human beings. Thus, your starting point always a segmentation model that is based on human behavior. In both cases (shoppers and consumers), you need to identify the most aspirational segment with the potential to increase your sales exponentially.
To achieve the highest communication impact, make sure that what you communicate inside the store is also aligned with what you communicate outside the store. The purpose of the shopper strategy is to fully connect Consumer-Retailer-Shopper not only on a functional and demographic level, but most importantly, on a lifestyle and emotional level. Let’s focus on the shopper strategy and how to link it with both the brand positioning strategy and the consumer target.
4 STEPS TO BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL SHOPPER STRATEGY
STEP 1 – WHO?
Targeting the right shoppers is the first big step in a successful retail marketing strategy; the goal is to focus not just on buyers of the brand, but more specifically, on those buyers who disproportionately influence the brand’s other users and potential users. The Path-to-Purchase functions as a natural filter for the targeting process. First, look at the people who frequent a specific retailer from the human segmentation. Then identify which of those segments are most likely to use/purchase from your category. By considering the human segments that best match the criteria for both yours and the retailer’s brand you can use a shopper influencing model to understand who is the most aspirational target. The objective is to provide the shopper’s “human face” to the retailer to create more meaningful in-store communication with the right message and the right tone of voice to engage the targeted shopper.
STEP 2 – WHERE?
Priority Touch Points
The goal is to understand which touch points in the store are the most important for the targeted shopper. In the case of FMCG companies and grocery retailers, for example, let’s also look at the other categories that are relevant for the targeted shopper to position the secondary displays and trigger the impulse purchase and/or confirm a planned purchase of the brand. The zones you decide to activate are not only relevant for the shopper’s state of mind and potential consumption/usage occasions, but importantly, they are linked directly to the business objectives in terms of trial, volume, and frequency zones. The volume zones are where you can find the category in which you directly compete. Let’s use Coke as an example. The beverage shelf would be considered a volume zone, while the frequency zones are those other category areas linked with specific consumption occasions where the brand has relevance. Again, using Coke as an example, deli coolers represent one of the frequency zones because they are linked with everyday consumption occasions (e.g. lunch). Finally, there are the trial zones. The objective is to recruit new consumers by activating these zones, often characterized by high-traffic locations in the store, such as entrance displays and checkouts. Both are good examples of trial zones. Placing secondary displays in different locations will allow you to push different SKUs relative to the different consumption occasions, and consequently avoid cannibalization with redundancies in the product/brand portfolio.
STEP 3 – WHAT?
The Shopping Experience
Creating a unique shopping experience means delivering the right brand-relevant shopper message at the right time and in the right place. To do so, you need to understand the mindset of the shoppers when they walk around the store. This mindset changes according to where the shoppers are at a given point in their shopping journey, as they shop various product categories such as purposely shopping for household stock items, quick meal ideas, or items for weekend activities. By knowing who these shoppers are as human beings, you can put yourself in their shoes and understand how they approach the different product categories and shopping areas as they move through the store. You can then create a message specific to each shopping area or purpose that can trigger the purchase by engaging emotionally with your shopper. Starting from the consumer target and the brand positioning, you can then brief the creative agency about what you want the shopper to Think, Feel, and Do after receiving the message in a specific moment and store location.
STEP 4 – HOW?
Execution – The Retailer ID
To be effective and efficient, the brief to the sales force must not only be meaningful and insightful, but also actionable. A retailer-specific execution guide will enable the sales team to activate a specific store or chain. The one-page document should contain the following information for each retailer:
A. Shopper insight
B. Shopper experience – think, feel, and do.
C. Priority touch points – trial, frequency, and volume zones.
D. SKUs – the packages and products used to activate/promote in each of the selected
touch points according to the relevant consumption occasions.
E. Message – differs according to the in-store shopping zones.
F. Promotion – list of meaningful brand engagement promotions to activate in the store over
a period of time (an execution calendar) that are tightly linked with the targeted shopper’s lifestyle needs, values, and attitudes.
G. Price – guidelines to follow when the brand is not on promo.
As marketers, you should prepare your trade marketing strategies to create a strong link between your brands, the potential consumption/usage occasions, and the relevant SKUs, all aligned with the evolving shopper mindsets as they make their way through the store. Be especially mindful of linking your brand experience with the overall retail experience for each chain. Creating an engaging and emotional shopping experience will allow brands to increase sales exponentially and at the same time help your retail partners to increase their margins and profits.