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How shopper insights work to capture your consumer

By Dipanjan Mukherjee | March 07, 2013

Shopper insights are vital to design an effective shopper marketing strategy. Darshana Shah - Business Head for Marketing, HyperCity, tells us how manufacturers and retailers can use shopper insights to create happy shoppers.

Shopper-centricity is a familiar term and one that has been around for some time, but it has never been more relevant than it is right now. Shoppers have become more demanding, selective, and sophisticated. Retailers and manufacturers would be in a much better position to deliver against shopper expectations if they leveraged shopper and consumer insights more effectively and aligned their shopper strategies more closely. Retailers already know a lot about the'Who, What, When, How' of shoppers through loyalty schemes, panel data and EPOS data. Manufacturers can bring vital in-store motivational driver insight to the table and deliver the real'Why' factor. Some insights that can help while planning are:

Understand the shopper Journey - both In-Store and out-of-Store: The cycle of consumption and shopping is intrinsically linked and both retailers and manufacturers need to understand the Who, What, When, Why & How motivators along this journey.

Promotion overkill can devalue a category: A category which relies on almost continuous promotion risks devaluing brand differentiators and erodes profits which result in lack of investment and loss of innovation. This step will free up time and investment so they can concentrate their efforts on their category captain performers, creating the true product benefit differentiation and innovation required to stay ahead.

Enhance shopping experience: The shopper wants a choice that is wide enough to give them alternatives but that is laid out in a way that makes it easy for them to find their first choice brand or format or be able to switch between two or three acceptable alternatives. Retailers and manufacturers must balance their interests in a con¬ceptual planogram that will provide a compelling experience for the shopper. 

Connect with the consumer: Shoppers do not delineate between shopping information and product information, and will rely on apps that will help them to buy their desired product at their desired retailer in a seamless process. Knowing where the product will compete, how the package will stand out on shelf and how consumers will respond to promotions are key parts of the innovation process and frequently forgotten until late in the game. 

Seamless shopping: Shopper insights about where in store the new product would be found could be integrated into the concept building phase if there is some ambiguity about where the product would be located in the store (for example, in cases where the product is new to the world or crosses categories).

Build conversations: Offer solutions, keeping in mind that the final purchase decision is made in favour of the product or selection of products that provides the shopper with the most convenient response to her or his shopping motivation. Improving conversion on the path to purchases is the key to success. 

Keep it simple: Shoppers and consumers are intrinsically linked, yet they have different behaviours, needs, and motivations. So sell to the shopper, not the consumer. Keep it simple.  Innovate wisely.  Evaluate constantly.

Compiling shopper Insights  

Various research methods could be used to get in-depth insights. Also understanding trade channel landscapes in different markets can help optimize research expenditures when research is not feasible. Defining a channel strategy in different markets is a first step to success and more efficiency can be gained through sharing of existing knowledge. In emerging markets, manufacturers deal directly with independent retailers, wholesale channels and shoppers (for example, through advertising). As a result, manufacturers know a great deal about the local supply chain logistics, the competitive landscape, and shopper needs and profiles. As the traditional channel stronghold decreases in emerging markets and global retailers move in, manufacturers should align themselves with key global retailers to share their local market and category knowledge - thereby, creating a valuable partnership for both.

Advantages of shopper Insights

Good shopper insights helps design a great shopper marketing strategy. However, shopper marketing is not just an in-store tactic. It is a shopper-centric approach to increase the relevance of products, brands and store banners. Manufacturers and retailers can use shopper insights juxtaposed with traditional marketing strategies to substantially improve the shopping experience for a targeted shopper. Happier customers dwell longer, buy more and visit more frequently - results that are difficult to match with conventional practices.For retailers, shopper marketing differentiates their banners and generates top line growth due to higher trip frequency, larger basket sizes and growth in expandable categories. A more engaging shopping experience leads to increased customer loyalty. For manufacturers, shopper marketing increases the exposure and relevance of the company's brands and products to target shoppers. Sales increase while dependence on deals is reduced. Brand equity is generated via the retail environment. The potential returns from shopper marketing are hard to ignore.
Implementation of shopper insights in India 
We usually use a lot of these shopper insights while planning our in-store communication, signages, the marketing mix, the planogram and many a times while planning the store design.

Implementation of shopper insights in retail environment

Brands should use targeted insights for specific shopper segments, specific trip missions and even specific stores. They must be able to link shopper and consumer insights to develop solutions that delight both shopper and consumer alike. Commercializing these solutions requires much deeper relationships due to the need to share sensitive data and co-develop scalable, executable programs. Some things that can be implemented are as below: 
-Changes to merchandising, promotions, POS, new product introductions and even pack changes can impact the category overall.
-Targeted promotions: Offering'trade up' promotions around pay day, but price discounted promotions during mid-month when shoppers may have less in their pockets 
-An optimum in-store experience: Engaging social media and mobile apps that enable shoppers to easily find exactly what they want. 

Ensuring successful implementation

All the insights have to be considered, as all these can be implemented in different ways while designing the marketing mix. A lot can be implemented while designing the in-store communication where the shopper actually shops. These insights to a larger extent can help us improve the services and experience we provide to our customers to make them our brand custodians.

Challenges while implementation

I believe shopper insights can be converted into effective communication only when the translation is self-explanatory which helps the shopper to relate to it and ultimately leads to purchase. The challenge arises during conversion & translation.

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