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Shopper Marketing - where to start?

Shopper marketing is a term which for a long time was better knows as retail marketing.  But now there is a lot more intelligence, data and strategic insights behind the outcomes of this exciting marekting areas.  

Shoppers are people -  they are consumers just like you and I.  But we are complex creatures, and we make decisions based on a number of factors, we engage with brands in a number of ways, and now across a growing number of platforms.  It's hard to know where to start when you need to increase your sales, awareness or engagement in the shopper space. So, here are five insights about consumers to get your thought process started.

The aim of the game with shopper marketing, is simply to maximise your chance of being purchased or bought by the shopper. The discipline is a real cross-over between sales and marketing - a combination of branding, storytelling and communication, with product, trade and sales channels.   So work closely with your sales team to get this right. 

1. Know who you are as a brand

Before you get into any marketing space, you need to know yourself.  Who are you as a brand?  What do you stand for?  What is your vision?  What is your greater purpose as a brand?  What is your personality?  Who is your audience?  And how do you want to be perceived?   By having solid brand story, which aligns with the needs of your target audience, will ensure that any message you tell, or any collateral or campaigns you develop are consistent and can gain momentum over time. 

You need to look like you want to be perceived by your consumers. Your brand personality should reflect who you are, and your tone of voice should match that.  Your fonts, colours and imagery should align, so that you are creating a solid brand for the long term - something people will relate to and become to love over time.  Who you are and how you present yourself is critical to the success of your brand long term – don’t skimp on this part of the process.

 2.  Understand what you are actually selling

What we are selling is something slightly misunderstood. Are you selling insurance? Or are you selling trust, reliability and assurance?  Are you selling a motorcycle?  Or are you selling a lifestyle or comradeship?  Are you selling a musical instrument?  Or are you selling freedom to express and have fun with peers? Are you selling butter?  Or are you selling baking and family time together? Remember that often what we are selling is bigger than the product itself.  Understanding what it is that your consumers REALLY want to purchase (or the outcome they want from their purchase), will help you tell the right story, and steer your conversations in a way that are truly engaging.

 3. Understand your audience and how they think

Who will buy from you, where do they shop, when do they shop, how do they shop and why do they shop, are all really important questions.   Our understanding of consumers needs to go past age and gender, and really delve into the persona’s of our audience.  What are their behaviours, likes, dislikes, hobbies, habits, nuances, and personality types. We can’t put all our consumers into one box, they need to be segmented depending on their habits or desires.

Three great areas to understand, are their base shopper types.  Starting here will give you great insight into how to talk to them, and how to deliver a better shopper experience. Are they:

  • A speed shopper – functional and purpose driven, all about convenience
  • An impulsive shopper – social, experimental and impulsive
  • Or a prudent shopper – proactive, saving focussed and want control.

Someone who is a fast thinking shopper, versus a slow thinker, or who is impulse versus an in-depth researcher can affect how you market to them - your sales and marketing plan should deliver to all these factors.  

4. Dig into their path to purchase Consumers always have a journey they go through in a purchase process. From research or consideration right through to loyalty.  At each stage of that purchase process there are many touch points where you can influence their decision making behaviour.   There are three spheres of influence within the user journey, where we can assign touch points to influence how they react to your brand:  

  • Pre-store. Touch points can include SEO, SEM, advertising, events or activation.
  • In-store. Touch points can include packaging, promotions, merchandise, or choice architecture.
  • Post-store. Touch points can include loyalty programs, reviews, marketing automation, social media or email marketing.

By understanding your own consumers’ journey, you can analyse the touch points, and create a solid multi-channel communication plan to influence their behavour at as many points as possible and increase your chances greatly of converting to purchase and then brand loyalty.

5. Know what your measures are

If we look back at point one, you should have a solid understanding of the objective you are trying to achieve with your brand or campaign. And so, depending on your objective, there are different success measures you may want to implement and monitor to ensure the hard work you have put in gains results for your brand and business.  For example, your measures could be one of the following :

  • Brand health. In which case awareness, trial, traffic or clicks could be your measures
  • Brand presence. In which case distribution, facings, pricing competitiveness or competition entries may be your measures.
  • In which case repeat purchase, number of reviews, or loyalty plan enagements might be your triggers.

No matter who your consumer, or what your brand stands for,  the more you understand them and their environment, the better success you will have in influencing their behaviour.  Good luck!  Or feel free to call us to chat more.