What is shopper marketing?

By July 9, 2015General

If you have no idea what shopper marketing is, you’re not alone. Although it’s been around for some time, the focus for marketers has traditionally been devoted to focusing on the needs of the consumer – that is the consumption of goods and services. What’s been ignored is understanding shoppers — that is, consumers when they are in shopping mode.

But we are starting to see a revival, as more marketers focus on the shopper’s experience and their journey to purchase.

At this point, it may be worth clarifying that shopper marketing is not the same thing as consumer marketing. Although it influences consumers, shopper marketing is developed with the shopper in mind.  What’s the difference? The consumer is the person that is using the product even though they may not be the one actually shopping or purchasing the item – that’s the shopper. Likewise, the shopper may not consume the product. Put simply, “consumers use, shoppers buy”.

What is shopper marketing?

Shopper marketing is a means to influence shoppers while they are in-store. From interactive touch screens and in-store competitions, to product sampling and treasure hunts, it’s about finding ways to engage with your target shopper from the point at which the motivation to shop first emerges, through to the point-of-purchase.

We see examples of shopper marketing everyday: Supermarkets have long offered free samples with the aim of whetting a customer’s appetite at the very moment when it’s easiest for them to buy food. While high end stores use careful calibrations of light, space, music, and ambiance to put customers in the mood to shop.

All of these subtle factors combine to influence the customer at the moment they reach for their wallet.

While it was once assumed that shopper marketing only took place in brick and mortar stores, the rise of e-commerce has required marketers to reconsider how they influence shoppers online. One common technique is to point customers towards other products they may like based on what they’ve bought. The most well known proponent of this tactic is Amazon (see right). This is a simple but effective way to encourage customers to spend more than they had intended.

Understanding your shoppers

Shopper behaviour can be studied in many ways, from mystery shopping and eye-tracking software, to focus groups and social media analytics.

The data will help you understand the needs of your shoppers – where they shop, how they shop and what in-store activity influences them. This will enable you to build detailed maps of shopper journeys and purchase activity.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on info@hotcow.co.uk.