Shopper marketing taps into shoppers’ minds

In a world where shopper and consumer behaviour is proving to be very difficult to predict, effective and efficient marketing is proving to be increasingly difficult.

Manufacturers are aiming to sell more products to shoppers, more often at a profit, while retailers want more feet in their stores, bigger basket spend, healthy category margins and shopper loyalty. This is where shopper marketing can help to provide an integrated marketing approach between manufacturers, retailers and store merchandisers.
Jenny Loomes, an associate consultant at Aperio, an FMCG business consulting company focused on accelerating growth of brands in sub-Saharan Africa, recommends that retailers and manufactures combine their efforts to understand the shopper. According to Loomes, the real change will require changing the decision of the shopper, at the point-of-purchase, to favour your product. “An integrated marketing approach is required where customer, brand, trade and shopper marketing teams deliver on the shopper’s emotional and functional needs at the point-of-purchase in one seamless strategy: shopper marketing provides the route map for such a strategy.”
She furthermore explains that navigating the shoppers’ decision-making process, will aid in meeting the shoppers’ needs. “We need to understand what the shopper is trying to achieve through the shopping process (functional and emotional needs) and how he/she goes about making his/her purchase decisions. We need to understand the touch points in the shopping journey and where things go wrong or right for your brand. The solution here requires manufacturers and retailers to have a good understanding of who their shoppers are.”
Loomes references an example where a client believed they had a strong loyal shopper base, however upon delving further, it was found that these “‘loyal’” shoppers may purchase a product repeatedly, but only when it is discounted.
“There is a big difference between a shopper being loyal to a brand when there is discount involved and a shopper purchasing a brand repeatedly even at full price. A loyal shopper purchasing five months’ worth of laundry detergents when on promotion won’t be back in the detergent aisle for another five months, this leads to brand value erosion. Consequently the shopper might only purchase when the product is at the price point acceptable to them,” she explains.
Shopper marketing aims to move away from the price agenda and start focusing on the product benefits and brand value to the shopper.
Loomes insists that role players need to acknowledge that shoppers are “savvier” and more adventurous and are constantly shopping with a new set of values. “Most shoppers don’t equate value with price alone. Many consider deeper values that act as filters, guiding purchase decisions across many categories. These values include simplicity, real value, deserved indulgence, engagement at point-of-purchase as well as contribution to the environment.”  
“Opportunities to turn these insights into action require timely understanding of how shoppers use these filters to select where they shop, what to buy and whether or not your company and its brands are on or off their new radar,” she adds.
“Shopper marketing asks the shopper questions, what, where, why, who, and when? This tells us more about the shopper’s behaviour in terms of shopping missions, shopping mode, basket size, touch point interaction, why not, where not, and the overall decision process. Answers to these questions will result in the development of strong brand propositions that are relevant to the shopper. This said, strategic shopper marketing is no longer an option it’s becoming mandatory.”
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