Brands who are looking to enhance their customer base, need to align themselves with discount retailers to reach a new group of shopper. These shoppers are leading the pack and more are set to follow in the coming months. Brands need to start building product trial and relationships now, to outsmart the competition.

Shopping behaviours have changed, with a shift towards more frequent top up shopper missions according to the latest research from Shop Waves / The Grocer.

The big news is that more and more middle class shoppers are conducting their top up shops at discount supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and the Co-Op.

Of the four, Aldi has seen a significant increase in new shoppers/fans, who have predominantly switched from Tesco’s. According to research from Verdict,the biggest switch relative to market share, comes from Asda. The below chart shows the percentage of customers switching from one of the big 4 to a discount retailer.

Retailer Switch %
Tesco 36.6%
Asda 19.7%
Morrisons 16.9%
Sainsbury’s 12.7%

This is great news for brands looking to expand their customer base by leveraging these new shopper habits. This is an opportunity for marketeers to use the discount retailers to instigate product trial and start to develop a relationship with customers beyond the Big 4. Below we highlight four key reasons to review your marketing plan for 2014 and include product trial at discount supermarkets as part of it.

1. Beat the Competition
Most of your competitors are focused on the Big 4 and believe that the biggest customer conversion can still be had from the Big 4. What they don’t foresee is that new customer relationships can be forged now as customers are changing their shopping habits. This can have a big impact on the brand with awareness and most importantly emotional connectivity (human beings buy emotionally not rationally). Be the first to grab this new expanding customer base.

2. Better Value for Money
Product sampling at the discount retailers will be a more cost effective way to execute trial. Ultimately this will give you more activation days, enabling you to adopt a real proximity marketing program in a growth region in the UK. This could mean a lower cost per sample rate!

3. Increase Conversion
Shoppers will be in the right frame of mind to experience “new” products regardless of their top up or main shop mission, as they are looking for new things to spice up the family meal or snack times. Shoppers will be more relaxed as we help them enrich meal time, increasing our opportunity to capture data, inspire taste and usage and have a relevant conversation with a potential new customer.

4. AB Customers are growing
The discount supermarkets are growing, for example, Aldi now has 500 stores and is ramping up its appeal to the middle class with a 5% increase in middle to upper class customers in the last 12 months. 18.6% of its shoppers are now AB category with 36.6% of shopper missions on the main shop.

Lidl, following in the footsteps of Aldi, now has a consumer profile of 41% ABC shoppers with 630 stores across England, Scotland and Wales. Plus, its new “Deluxe” range will appeal to customers looking for quality and price this winter, ever enhancing this shopper profile.

Iceland, the frozen discounter, not wanting to get left behind, are also adopting a classier image to appeal to a more middle class shopper, this is exemplified by their recent TV commercial which is a distinct move away from its well known Kerry Katona fronted ads.

Marketeers – dig out your promotions and marketing calendar and review your plans for 2014 – perhaps by shifting a percentage of funds to meet new customers at discount supermarkets could prove to be more beneficial to your bottom line.

Thinking of driving product trial at supermarket?
Hotcow can help you develop a product sampling plan for reaching & engaging new customers with location mapping, staffing, message and asset development and measurement.

Hotcow is a multi-award winning, Experiential Marketing agency that deliver 50% more ROI, than clients would receive from any other brand experience agency. Our skill is in being able to create emotional connections with your customers to drive sales, brand loyalty, word of mouth and business growth. We deal with this type of marketing because human beings are powered by emotion, not by reason. We use those emotional levers to get people to take action. We accomplish this through our ‘R.A.R.E Advantage’ platform. For more information contact us on 0207 503 0442 or