Shopper Marketing Trends and Strategy

Published on May 5, 2016

Once a customer passes into your store, it’s your opportunity to get your message across within a limited timeframe. Here’s how!

Shopper marketing: it’s a term that is used heavily but do people and store owners actually understand the complexities of it and what it means for their business and its longevity? A study done by the Grocery Manufacturers Association in the USA indicated that companies with developed Shopper Marketing plans are growing 50% faster than the categories they participate in.

Shopper Marketing can be defined as follows:

Shopper marketing focuses on the customer in and at the point of purchase. It is an integrated and strategic approach to a customer’s in-store experience which is seen as a driver of both sales and brand equity.

In Store Marketing is Very Sophisticated

The origin of in store or shopper marketing is widely believed to be from back in the late 90s. Back then, P&G and Wal-Mart worked together to cluster their baby products into one shopper aisle. Strategically, they balanced out low margin ‘necessary’ purchases like nappies with profitable products such as baby clothes. Developing a successful and integrated shopper marketing strategy takes a lot of time, thought and effort within an organization and it needs commitment from the top down in order for it to become powerful. If its importance is fully understood by management, the possibilities are endless in terms of influencing the customer.

Some interesting statistics about in store marketing:

  • 70% of shoppers now use a mobile device while shopping in a store which suggests it’s essential to close the shopping loop between mobile, web and bricks & mortar.
  • Almost 50% of shoppers searched in-store using their smart phone
  • 25% performed comparison shopping on their phone while assessing a purchase.
  • Brick-and-mortar stores are under pressure from such comparison shopping and “showrooming” [e.g. BestBuy Canada has attributed store closures to this].
  • Almost 20% said they changed their mind about a purchase after being influenced by in-store media.
  • As comfort with mobile payments increases - the integration of mobile devices for shopping increases in importance (200 million customers have credit card numbers on file with iTunes).
  • Retail executives believe 56% of all transactions completed in a store will be via mobile POS, self checkout terminal or shopper’s mobile device in next 5 years.

In-store music improves sales and word-of-mouth.

Shopper Marketing Tools

The power of in-store music

Music impacts sales and word of mouth:

  • 90% of customers are more likely to recommend a store that plays music (because 74% of customers agree music makes them happier).

  • 67% of social media users discuss music (and movies) ahead of any other topic which shows how musical influence can come into everyday conversation amongst potential shoppers.

    Over the years there have been many studies conducted to see the impact of different types of music on shopper behaviour. Instore music techniques are very sophisticated; it’s not just about the type of music, it is about the volume levels and other elements too. The music of course can be tailored for the type of store and the type of demographic that it wants to attract. If done well, instore music has the ability to increase sales by anything close to 20%.

Digital Signage Cutting Through the Noise

Advantages of digital signage:

  • It can be easily and quickly updated in-store.
  • No costly ongoing printing expenses.
  • It can be interactive through smart phone integration, touchscreens etc.
  • Captures the attention of the shopper while in-store.

Message & Music On Hold Marketing

Message and on-hold marketing and music on hold marketing is often the forgotten element of shopper marketing but it can be extremely powerful in getting the attention of the busy customer. Check out this interesting Business Insider article which states that people perceive a shorter wait time when they listen to music that they like and that playing music when callers are put on hold makes them stay on the line longer before they decide to hang up.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing isn’t just for online stores. Offline and brick and mortar retailers can also utilize this wonderful resource to their advantage. Ways to use social media for your instore marketing efforts:

  • Promote a discount code that can only be used when the shopper buys instore. Customers love discounts and so they won’t question this restriction.
  • Use your social media accounts to tell people about any upcoming instore events. Think about having a ‘customer evening’ and invite your social media followers using an ‘invite only’ type of theme.
  • Use things like Facebook live to show off new stock that has just arrived. Encourage customers to come instore to see it for themselves but by using things like social media, you are creating some buzz around it. If you have budget, consider adding some dollars to promote the post to increase the virality. With Facebook, a small budget can go a long way but no budget means you’re up against the tough organic Facebook algorithm which is quite restrictive in terms of gaining visibility.

analytics being used to improve retail engagement

Use Shopper Marketing in Conjunction with Retail Analytics

Advanced analytics helps to track, understand and leverage every stage in the shopping path in order to ultimately sustain business and drive competitive advantage. The whole instore experience for the shopper should be made easier as part of your shopper marketing tactics and messages need to be simple, clear and consistent. Analytics will help you keep track of what works (what activities helped sales) so it’s important to put a plan in place for tracking any instore marketing activities to see their success or lack thereof. The ability to measure strategies and activities is fundamental in the retail environment especially; it is important to understand however that there are no ‘best practice’ rules when it comes to instore marketing and a lot can change depending on product, brand and outlet.

analytics tools are powerful to identify shopper marketing trends

Shopper Marketing: Trends to Watch

More sophisticated sensor-enabled analysis of shopper traffic patterns within stores will help to inform merchandising decisions. > More analysis will be possible of smartphone behaviour in store if systems are upgraded internally – this might take some capital investment but analytics will be clear and useful. > The Internet of Things is likely to bring other technology-enabled analyses and insights. The diagram below shows how this is likely to continue to influence retail.

The estimated impact of internet of things in different sectors

Augmented reality tools are available already with integration of ideas like interactive changing room mirrors which can greet customers and help them when they try on outfits or make outfit suggestions. There are some nice examples of this type of activity in retail in this post.

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