What is Shopper Marketing?

Many billions of dollars are spent on print and radio ads introducing products to a consumer and pushing them to buy. However, the ambiance of an actual storefront also has a powerful impact on what—and how much—consumers purchase. The way a store smells, the areas products are placed, the free samples offered, and even the lighting can influence a customer’s decisions. All of the above are examples of shopper marketing, which focuses on influencing a consumer specifically at the moment of purchase.

How Shopper Marketing Works

  1. It involves both manufacturers and retailers

    Manufacturers have control over the price, packaging, and any special arrangements of their product on the shelf. For example, a manufacturer might pay a grocery store more to have their product placed on the end of aisle where more consumers are likely to see it. In contrast, rather than focusing on a specific product, retailers focus on selling their store. They want consumers to choose their store over another one, spend as much time there as possible, and return frequently. They focus on location, store layout, lighting, and other factors.

  2. It's not just for physical storefronts anymore

    As shopping increasingly moves online, stores have been forced to consider how they influence shoppers online as well. The most common tactic they use to hook consumer at the point of sale is suggesting similar things they might want to buy based on their purchase. It's the equivalent of putting candy bars near the checkout to tempt consumers!

  3. It targets different types of consumers

    Shopper marketing isn't just targeted toward one sort of buyer. An effective shopper marketing plan is segmented based on target customer—for example, the mom or the value shopper. Then, different approaches are developed for each of these consumers. Success isn't straightforward either—it can be measured with several different metrics, including increasing brand awareness or gaining traction over a competitor.

Shopper Marketing Best Practices

  1. Decide on metrics for success

    Because there are multiple ways to measure the success of your campaign, it's imperative to decide exactly how you'll be tracking success and communicate that to your team. Think hard about which metrics are actually important to you—are you looking to drive sales, or just increase overall brand awareness?

  2. Make your campaign "always-on"

    Trends and news both move at blazing speed, and it's imperative that shopper marketing keeps up. The funny packaging that was relevant to today's piece of news will be completely irrelevant in a month—so ensure your campaign stays reactive. Don't just redesign packaging and leave it until the next time you re-do your shopper marketing budget.

  3. Plan out each small detail of your budget

    Since shopper market has so many small aspects (like continually re-designing packages for different products and testing lighting between different stores), it's easy to lose track of each of your different efforts. It's also easy to allocate your budget to "lighting," for example, without planning exactly which or how many locations will receive a revamp. This makes it easy to create unrealistic budgets—which leads to an unsuccessful campaign. Make sure you're planning each campaign down to the smallest detail to ensure you stay on budget.