Four Key Tips For Reaching In-Store Shoppers: Our Latest from Total Retail
Reaching target shoppers can be a challenge for many brands. Between heightened competition, economic pressures, and supply chain issues, there are several obstacles between you and winning over consumers. This calls for strategic, targeted marketing informed by solid research. And while the rise of ecommerce and the much-hyped “retail apocalypse” reflect shifting consumer behavior away from in-store shopping, that channel still makes up the bulk of all sales. Effectively getting your message across to shoppers in the physical retail environment is vital.
Alter Agents conducted a survey to launch our Shopper Influence Research program, asking 6,000 recent purchasers who had bought in six product and service categories about the journey they took to arrive at their purchase decisions. Three of our categories – packaged coffee, household cleaning supplies, and dog treats and supplements – sit in the CPG sector and are often bought in stores. These shoppers told us about the time they took to make a decision, where they got their information, and which information sources were most influential.
We cover the data at length in our new book for brands & marketers: Influencing Shopper Decisions. Allter Agents CEO Rebecca Brooks gives a sneak peak in an article for Total Retail, titled “Where Are Shoppers Looking for Information in Stores?” Here are four key tips for reaching shoppers in the store:
1. Product packaging draws attention, so optimize it
Product packaging was one of the top-cited sources of information for shoppers in our three CPG categories. But there was variance among them. While 54 percent of dog treat shoppers read the packaging to determine whether or not it met their standards, 48 percent of shoppers looking for cleaning supplies did the same.
But when we asked shoppers who consulted the packaging whether it was influential in their final decision, they reported a mixed bag: 59 percent of packaged coffee shoppers who consulted it said it was influential, compared to 47 percent of those looking for cleaning supplies. Brands can improve those figures by finding out exactly what information shoppers in their category want to know, and being certain that it’s on the label.
2. Store employees are highly influential
Consumer education is always important and store employees are valuable ambassadors for your brand and product. They are also an underutilized resource: Employee recommendations were used by just 29 percent of dog treat shoppers, 23 percent of those looking for cleaning supplies, and 22 percent of shoppers looking for a package of coffee. But 51 percent of all those who asked a store employee for their thoughts found the information to be highly influential in how they made a final decision.
If your brand runs its own retail locations, an employee advocacy program is easy to set up. If you don’t have that advantage, Rebecca writes, “While every product and category is different, you can consider adding educational materials for retailers, running incentivized workshops or even visiting your retailers in person.”
3. Endcaps and at-shelf reviews don’t draw shoppers
An unexpected finding from our research is that shoppers say they don’t turn to endcaps or at-shelf reviews much when they’re doing their shopping. These were two of the least-often cited sources of information about products, and they also weren’t rated as being influential by those who did consult them. Unless you know they work for your category, skip them.
4. Shopper Behavior is Category-Specific
The key takeaway from all of our research, Rebecca concludes, is that “though these products are sold in the same store, and sometimes even in the same aisle, shoppers turn to different in-store information sources to gather what they need to feel confident in a purchase decision. Shopper behavior is truly category-dependent.” So when you’re trying to formulate your in-store marketing strategy, you need to back it up with actionable category-specific market research.
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