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21 Nov 2014
posted by: Steve

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Shoppers...


Here are 5 important questions that you should aim to know the answers to...

 1. The Conversion Funnel

Or more simply put, how many shoppers browse, buy & reject your categories.

Commonly referred to as the 'pin-up' insight of the shopper world, the conversion funnel tells you how shoppers navigate the Path To Purchase (P2P) inside the store and engage with your categories. For example whether they walk past the gondola, whether they browse from it and ultimately whether they buy from it. Or maybe they browse it but then go to the shelf to buy. 

Why is it useful? Because it allows you to easily identify the holes in your P2P and where the low hanging fruit is, e.g., whether it is improving the category's location in store, its attractiveness to passers by or the shelf effectiveness itself.

How is it used? One of our clients was recently able to show a retailer via an in-store trial that a major layout flow change greatly improved the browsing and buying of a particular segment without impeding the sales of the other segments in the category. 

As a result, this trial was rolled out nationally.

2. Shopper Rejection Reasons

Or more simply put, why shoppers don't buy your categories on any given shop trip. There are essentially two types of rejecters; those who thought about buying today and those who didn't. Their behaviour is revealing in this regard. For example, if a shopper is spending time browsing your category and then walking away without purchasing, their intent is higher than someone who walked straight past your category without giving it a second glance.   

Why is it useful? It's important to understand the 'low hanging fruit' of rejection in your category in order to fix it. For example, if you found out that 1 in 5 shoppers walked away after browsing and that 50% of the reasons why was related to the right pack sizes for their households, this would be incredible insight into future category growth opportunity.

How is it used? We were recently engaged in researching the Beverage category and identified that there was a higher number of shoppers browsing and then rejecting in one retailer than in the market. Through talking to shoppers at the exact time of rejection, we found out why. A key insight was that the offers did not appeal. This generated change to the promotional programme. Lower rejection and category growth were the outcomes.

3. Activation & Promotional Influence

I doubt you could meet a sales manager who wouldn’t want to know whether it was the big displays, the front page of the catalogue, the sampling activity, the in-store media, the in-stock performance or perhaps even the price which drove that unexpectedly big spike in the scan data. The reasons why these spikes occur however can sometimes be lacking. Was it because the gondola was in a particularly hot location? Was it because it was the off location was placed next to a particularly fast moving category? Was it because the usual shopper rejection % decreased? 

Why is it useful? Knowing how your activation is positively or negatively influencing shopper traffic, engagement & behaviour is key to help you get a better ROI on promotional spend and help you more accurately implement an effective brand sales plan.

How is it used? One manufacturer was recently able to prove that displays of their crispbread brand, when located in the fruit and veg section, generated incremental sales (new shoppers & shopping occasions) rather than brand switching or taking sales from another category. This led to a very successful national execution, with the retailer unusually locating a packaged grocery brand within their fresh section. 

4. Shopper Brand Loyalty

A relatively new term that many FMCG manufacturers are discovering, shopper brand loyalty identifies the gap between what consumers do and how shoppers behave. Shopper brand loyalty is a lead indicator; the greater the gap, the greater the likelihood of lost market share and brand strength in the future. 

Why is it useful? The key questions are whether your brand’s gap is wider than the ‘norm’ and whether the gap is widening and therefore a cause for concern. 

How is it used? Like with any lead indicator, knowing this will help you stop the rot. We worked with a major manufacturer or nappies quite a few years ago. At the time, they had 80% market share. We identified a 17-20% risk to market share. A year later, their market share was 63%.

5. Shopper Missions
Shopper missions tell us the key reasons for their shop today, what that means for shoppers in our category and what we should look to leverage or influence. What are the impacts on in-store behaviour and decisions from how planned shoppers are, whether their needs are urgent, occasions or other consumer pressures, how regularly they shop and how many things they intend to buy?

Why is it useful? The more you know about shoppers - who are not all the same - the more precise you can be in targeting your brand and sales strategies to influence current shoppers or attract new ones. Combining this with your knowledge of the consumer is the real sweet spot and can deliver some spectacular results.

How is it used? A major retailer was recently looking at a ranked list of categories which are impulsively purchased by shoppers on either a top-up or single item mission. One of the top 5 categories was quite a surprise, so they decided to see if an off-location display located near the store entry for this category would yield better results than usual. The store entry area was chosen because shoppers on these missions did not usually walk the whole store. It turns out that the display showed a much higher sales uplift than many other categories in that position and it is now more often located there.

The things you can do when you know why!!

Good luck!