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05 Nov 2014
posted by: Amanda

The How To? of Shopper Decision Trees...

And whether or not a shopper decision tree should just in fact be a 'shopper's' decision tree

They do inform on shelf layout - and this is pretty important - but shopper decision trees have got so much more to offer. Please read more if you are grappling with, challenging and looking for more value from your humble shopper decision tree.

Decision making; any time, any place, anywhere...

Decisions about what to buy can happen at any time....a word of mouth recommendation from a friend, or maybe you're on the bus and you notice a passing advert, or you're in the store and see a new product or maybe a promotion catches your eye as you're waiting to pay. As such, when we talk about a shopper decision tree, we ought to think of it in the context of the entire decision making process and not just the shopper bit or the bog standard brand, price, pack size considerations that many decision trees focus on.

For us, this means a decision tree that covers the whole P2P (Path to Purchase) decision making process.

You will no doubt have seen various versions of the P2P and may well use a slightly different version to ours shown here. Fingers crossed that your different version does not override the points herein, I would love to hear from you if you have questions or comments on our P2P at all.

The 5 key stages to our P2P model, show that 2 out of the 5 decisions are consumer ones and 3 out of the 5 are shopper:

5 Key P2P decision stages that span both Consumer & Shopper

We subscribe to the thinking that when it comes to decision making, our target (consumer or shopper) oscillates between decisions that are made in consumer land (or mode) and those that are made in shopper land (or mode).

The Seed; traditionally consumer land. This is where the idea is planted in the target's mind.... 'hhhmmmmm that looks interesting' or... 'I'd like one of those'. At this stage the potential sale of the product is passive as it's just in our heads and we haven't actually done something about it yet.

The Plan; when the idea moves from being passive to active as the target is now making a plan to buy, or at least look into further the product or service that has caught their attention in The Seed....'right, I'm going to go to X store to have a look at which new gadget TVs they have'... or 'I might just have a look at Brand X when I'm in Tesco this week'.

The Path; well and truly in shopper land as the target is now physically on the path to buy, e.g., seeking it out in the store, clicking through online or thumbing through a magazine to 'shop' the options available.

The Purchase; and commonly referred to as the first moment of truth. The shopper is now stood in front of the fixture or gondola end or hovering over the 'buy now' button and is weighing up the options; 'will I, won't I?' or 'should I? shouldn't I?'.

The Delivery; and commonly referred to as the second moment of truth. Now back in consumer land, this is the acid test as to whether the product actually delivers to expectations. If it does, it is likely that the shopper will buy again and could become a loyal supporter and advocate. A huge spike in 'trial' but no repeat tends to mean that the product hasn't lived up to expectations.

So what should a decision tree actually look like?

The more that you can understand about the shopper decision tree - across the entire P2P - the better your sales will be. As such, we believe that a shopper decision tree should actually be a P2P decision tree. Elements of it ought to be completed from consumer insight (The Seed and The Delivery) and elements from shopper insight (The Plan, The Path & The Decision).

Example decisions in each stage:

1. The Seed: consumer, occasion, consumption location, need state, etc.

2. The Plan: levels of planning, purchase motivators, store choice factors, etc.

3. The Path: levels of browsing, dwell time, purchase location, etc.

4. The Decision: promotional impact, role of price, brand loyalty, etc.

5. The Delivery: serve size, ease of packaging, taste profile, etc.

The more that your business knows about the decisions that are made at each stage - and therefore when to influence which decision, why (& therefore how), the more effective it will be in converting a passive idea into a solid sale that is hopefully repeated week after week.

(...and now for the a cheeky name drop.... we love decision trees and have created a whole module for them; meaning we can do the hard work for you if you like....)

Contact us if you'd like to find out more!

Good luck!