Shopper marketing: 5 steps for retail growth
Shopper marketing provides a means for retailers to share insight and work with suppliers to grow incremental revenues for both parties - but achieving success can be challenging and often requires a change in approach, according to customer insight consultancy Emnos.
Digital technology is now creating a much more transparent and open landscape for retailing where the ability to browse, research and price compare is intensifying competition. This transparency, together with the current harsh economic climate, has led many retailers to focus on price as the main source of competitive advantage. While price is an important element in a mix of strategies for influencing customer behaviour, it does not provide the differentiation required to build long term sustainable growth.
Moreover, the price reductions are potentially harming a vital source of support. Suppliers have a deep understanding of their categories and can provide valuable additional knowledge as well as product innovation to help drive a strategic advantage. What's more, in a more transparent environment where retailers have only a short window to correct mistakes or failures, a strong partnership with suppliers will be needed to help spot changes in consumer preference early and formulate effective responses.
Shopper marketing provides a means for retailers to share insight and work with suppliers to grow incremental revenues for both parties. However, achieving success through shopper marketing can be challenging and often requires a change in approach for both retailer and supplier. Experience gathered from around the world suggests that the five key steps for success are:
- Opportunity analysis Retailers should use their ability to understand customer preferences, shopping missions and behaviours to identify gaps in their offer and therefore opportunities to create innovative and targeted propositions to meet specific needs.
- Partners Having identified potential opportunities, consider the most appropriate brands and manufacturers to work with on meeting the needs of the target segments. This should include considerations such as the additional insight they can provide and the strategic fit for such collaboration.
- Insight sharing One of most significant challenges to overcome is creating a unified approach to understanding customers and integrating a retail view with that of a brand owner. An ability to share segmented shopper insight through tools can provide a significant advantage in this process and enable the creation of joint objectives around a common theme.
- Relevant execution Ensuring that all the tactics used to influence the consumer are relevant to the target group and enable competitive differentiation including trade and brand marketing as well as in-store layout and merchandising.
- Measurement To be able to quickly isolate and analyse the effects of the campaign on the target group using a number of criteria relevant to manufacturer and retailer such as, changes in shopping behaviour, media effectiveness and sales uplift together with any negative consequences within the brand or the category.
"After a few years of focusing on price, we anticipate that retailers will look for a more sustainable source of competitive advantage," concluded Maxime Brunet of Emnos. "Success will be found in differentiating their propositions and enhancing their engagement with relevant offers and communication. Shared shopper insights and collaboration with suppliers will enable the development of these propositions to drive long term competitive advantage."