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Shop Talk - Find out what shoppers are really saying about promotions...


Hear it from the horses mouth with this special edition video blog on promotions and their impact on shoppers' behaviour...

As the global field manager for Shopperpedia, I'm always taking our clients out on store visits to show them just how things are done at the coal face & introduce them to the types of feedback we get from shoppers every single day. The overwhelming comment I get back is how amazed the client is to hear for themselves what shoppers say when they're stood at the fixture. The biggest 'aha!' for them is usually just how much what shoppers do & say whilst shopping is so very different to what they can say when sat at home thinking about how they might shop. One of our earlier blogs talked about this in detail so I won't go into that again here. What I thought I'd do - for my first ever blog (gulp!) - was to try and bring the store to life a bit more. I know that you all have busy head office jobs & often the store visits can become a 'nice to do' so hopefully through by 'ShopTalk' series I can help to bring a bit of the store to you! We stand at the shelves. observing & talking to shoppers every single day so... without further ado... step into my world!!

Meet Andrew, a frozen meals shopper. He already had a preconceived idea on “what” he was buying – a light option, healthy meal solution at a reasonable price for lunch today. When he got to the shelf he compared prices and one of his usual brands was on promotion. He is loyal to two brands and buys the category every week, last week he bought Lean Cuisine because it was on promotion. He also bought Lean Cuisine today on promotion. He regularly switches between Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers and buys either brand when they are on promotion. What's really interesting is that he knows that these two brands are on fairly regular rotation when it comes to promotions and guess what.... swaps between each. Andrew is looking for a meal solution, he wants it to be healthy but the promotion is ultimately what influences the brand he buys on the day. As such, he switches between Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers brands indiscriminately.

This is a good example of what we see a lot; shoppers switching between brands once their core needs are met. For Andrew his loyalty lies to a healthy meal solution that has a good price. The specific brand comes lower down his list.

Meet Simon, our next frozen meals shopper. He was buying today because he’d run out and told us that he was looking for something new today and the promotional activity helped him make his decision on which brand to buy.

Like Andrew, it was again the light healthy meal solution he was in the market for. When he was browsing the shelf, he told us that he had noticed Weight Watchers because of the promotion - particularly because their whole range was on promotion - and that this stood out. He picked up and purchased several. He buys frozen meals regularly and looks every week at what’s new or different to try, in particular different types of cooking methods e.g steaming and snack size portions rather than full meals, he buys in bulk and stocks up on 4-5 items in frozen meals when something he likes is on special. For him, the promotion isn't the be all and end all as he the product has to tempt his taste buds, but it is the thing that tipped him over the edge to buy only Weight Watchers over other brands. In this particular scenario therefore there is a good case for a brand doing a blanket promotion across all varieties rather than cherry picking to ensure they capture the shopper's entire frozen meal spend that day.

What's clear though is that promotions are certainly a big driver for frozen meal shoppers! It sounds like the frozen meals category could use a few more specific brand loyalists, rather than brand repertoire loyalists too! It would be great for these manufacturers to hear this in order to think about ways of differentiating their brands.

Isn’t it fascinating to watch as real people make decisions on what to purchase and what influencers are at play. Interesting that it’s not only price that triggers a shopper’s final choice as you have seen, a large number of factors are considered and the ability of on shelf communication to sway the shopper psyche is pretty crucial. It’s important to appreciate every shopper has a reason to buy and more importantly a need to buy in most cases, so being able to funnel their decision to favour one brand over another is the key to maximizing market penetration.

Let me know if you have any specific questions that you'd like me to cover in my next issues of Shop Talk!

See you soon!

Good luck!