Shopper marketing isn’t the same as consumer marketing, but rather, is a subset of it. Shopper marketing considers the shopper in the retail environment. What brought them there that particular day? What do they plan to purchase? What steers them off their shopping list or to or from certain brands?
In short, shopper marketing is about understanding how shoppers behave on their route to purchase and using that understanding to create the right marketing mix. That marketing mix should influence how the shopper behaves so that the shopper, the brand category, and the brand itself all benefit. It can be a tremendous advantage to a product launch strategy.
The Distinction Between Shopping and Consuming
A consumer may or may not be the one in the store making the purchase. Consuming is more about a mindset of what people want from a product or from a certain brand. A shopper, however, is someone engaging in the actual shopping process in the store. Shopper marketing focuses on the latter, though successful shopper marketing is a component of successful consumer marketing.
The shopper is subject to influences that a person as a consumer may or may not be subject to. After all, the person who consumes a product (a spouse or child who stays at home during shopping, for example) isn’t necessarily the person who does the shopping for it. The shopper is driven by consumer desires, but also by the shopping environment and other things that may influence the shopping process, like coupons, product samples, or special offers.
Why Shopper Marketing Makes Sense for Product Launches
Shopper marketing is a natural fit for CPG product launches. It is the shopper who encounters the physical product in a store and who will make the decision of whether to pass it by, inspect it further, or decide to place it in the shopping cart. Influencing the shopper ultimately influences the consumer, whether or not the shopper and the consumer are the same person. Therefore, it only makes sense that a brand launching a new product pay attention to the shopper and attempt to shape consumer behavior through shaping shopping behavior.
Creating an Effective Shopper Marketing Campaign for a Product Launch
To use shopper marketing successfully, it’s first necessary to gain an understanding of shopper behavior. What do they think? What do they do? What can influence them to take certain actions? Understanding the shopper’s pressure points is also important. Are they most concerned about time, money, sustainability, or some other factor?
Creative and engaging marketing ideas can be put in place in stores to boost shopper marketing. Common techniques include offering free taste testing or trial sized products, handing out coupons, or increasing product visibility through collateral such as board displays or stand-up displays.
The successful shopper marketing strategy has defined goals and objectives, has a sufficient budget, and prioritizes marketing techniques to make the most of the budget. It also analyzes the results to better learn which steps have the best ROI and which do not.
Shopper marketing has changed significantly in recent years, largely due to digital habits of consumers and shoppers. Additionally, massive new collections of data are available, as are the computing resources to make sense of it all. CPG marketers for the Coca-Colas of the world know how important shopper insights are, and so should other CPG brands, regardless of size. Shopper marketing makes tremendous sense for new CPG product launches, and the results can shape shopper behavior, consumer behavior, and deliver benefits for the brand, the product, and the people who use it.
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