Have you “executed” any shoppers recently?

I attended the Executing Shopper Insights conference in London last month, and thought two things; has anyone acted on any of the learnings from the conference yet, and WHAT were the main learnings.

We thought there were three key themes which connected most of the content:

  1. The Paradox of Millennials’ behaviour.
  2. The call for Contextual Nudges.
  3. The importance of driving First Purchases.


The Paradox of Millennials’ behaviour

We are all familiar with the changes taking place in our industry, with the move to many more purchases being made online, but are we really considering how millennials and the up-coming Gen Zs are behaving as we strive for growth? Irene Martinez from Hasbro talked about the changing rules:

“we used to go out shopping and then go home for a coffee, whereas the new generations shop online and then go out for a coffee.”

When they do go out, whether on a shopping trip or not, they are looking for ‘experiences’. George Clarkson from Toluna also told us that “40% of millennials order something new every time they go out” (source ACNielsen). Sadly, versus even ten years ago, our ‘standard’ supermarkets and convenience stores are even less of an experience than they used to be.

So as we turn to the next generation for growth we should re-double our efforts to understand where decisions are made along the entire consumer shopper journey and what will engage them experience wise, on each journey.


The call for Contextual Nudges

Putting the emotion back into the shopping experience means we must understand the context of their shopping trip. We have a belief that:

‘Shoppers only shop to fulfil the needs of consumers.’

So, with this in mind, great shopper research must tie back to the consumer needs that they are looking to fulfil, meaning that any messaging should have relevance to their mission by channel and occasion or need, putting the reasons for the trip or purchase firmly in context. A point well advocated by Deborah Womack from Ralph Lauren.

Deborah suggested that we understand the macro journey and develop a relevant communication plan for each journey, whilst Scott Young from PRS reminded us of the importance of System 1 versus System 2, ‘predictable irrationality and nudging’ on these journeys.

So, in the context of more frequent ‘mini-big shops’ being made by all shoppers (thanks to Anita Huntley for the term), we ironically have more opportunity to ‘nudge’ people on more specific missions.


The importance of driving First Purchases

I make no apologies for saving this last point as a re-cap on our core message: In the new marketing world declared by Byron Sharp, penetration should be the focus of every organisation who wants to grow.

In conjunction with Barry Lemmon from First Purchases Ltd., we firmly believe that existing shopper research is sub-optimal in its lack of attention on who it targets, ignoring most of the principles and learnings above. Barry advocates that we should all focus on understanding the ‘value of first purchasers’ versus repeat or second purchasers, and where they make their decisions along the entire consumer shopper journey.

So when embarking upon any shopper research or activation strategy work, please do re-consider whether you or your partners are asking the right questions and are they really targeting existing buyers or are they embracing the race for more penetration!

Naturally, if you would like any independent advice on how to tackle any of these challenges or indeed how to better activate what you already have and put ‘shopper’ more in the centre of your organisation’s thinking, Quantic would be delighted to help.

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