A blog series on Shopper Marketing.

By Cyndi Pyburn

Shifts in demographics, attitudes and values have fragmented the marketplace.   Consumers now want products and services that meet their individual needs and preferences. They are willing to pay:

Premium prices for products that matter to them personally BUT demand rock-bottom prices for basic goods.

As a result, today’s savvy customers have far greater expectations of the shopping experience and they are increasingly well-informed because of the internet.  In order to deliver a satisfying shopping experience, it is critical to understand the shopper like never before.  This customer-centric approach starts with a much better understanding of modern shoppers and how their needs are evolving.  In-store programs that resonate with shoppers and truly influence basket and shopping frequency are from those retailers that understand shopper trips and missions. Let me describe 5 shopper states:

1.  The Cherry Picker

Driven by a fantastic sale price, this shopper typically arrives at the store on a mission to get that one sale item.  For example a grocer offers an amazing deal on an expensive item such as laundry detergent.  While the basket size is small and the margin profit is low, bonanza sale items do keep the store top-of-mind.  There is always the hope that a few additional items will make the basket.

2.  Urgent       

Convenience plays a big role in the urgent shopping trip.  Shopper has run out of a staple, such as milk or requires a key ingredient to make a recipe.  While again, the basket size is small, the margin profit is typically high.

3.  Special Occasions

Shopping for special occasions takes stock of the type of store that has the special products sought for a dinner party or birthday party for example.  While the basket can be small to medium in size, the profit margin is high.

4.  Refill Trip  

Commonplace today is the refill trip for busy families which takes place bi-weekly.  The basket size is medium-large (10-20 categories shopped) and has a profit margin that is medium to high. 

5.  Stock-up Trip        

The classic cart filling trip that retailers love!   When the pantry is bare, it’s time for a stock-up trip to replenish product staples such as canned goods, detergents, and paper supplies.  This shopping trip can occur once per week for some to once a month for others.  Over 30 product categories are shopped and therefore the basket size is large offsetting low to medium profit margins.

A retailer armed with deeper insights about its customers through sophisticated analysis of their patterns of shopping behavior can develop a more satisfying shopping experience.  A better understanding of its customers gives the specific information necessary to design and drive its operating strategy.

• Provide a more tailored shopping experience that reflects not only who your target customers are, but also how they want to shop.

• Create an emotional connection with your customers by capturing their attention and imagination, and building a sense of excitement.

• Use technology to satisfy your customers’ shopping needs and expectations.

Let me provide a few examples of obvious, but clever shopper insights:

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) seized an opportunity to satisfy the urgent shopper.  Requirement:  a chilled bottle of wine for immediate consumption at a dinner party.  The refrigeration section is stocked with a wide variety of wines at varying price points.

Many brands have jumped on the opportunity to satisfy the refill shopping trip.  Requirement:  meal solutions for the busy family.  Dedicated areas of the store that quickly allow shoppers to make dinner decisions.

Special occasions made easy.  The requirement:  a gift of significance that is convenient and easy to purchase.  The evolution of a variety of gift card choices easily found at grocery and drugstore locations.

Next time you are on a shopping trip, what occasion is it for?  Does your grocery store make that mission easy?  Are you enticed to buy more?