The growing importance of shopper marketing


Big brand experiences and ad campaigns can be fantastic for building brand awareness and driving desire.


But with up to 70% of brand selections made at the point of purchase and 68% of buying decisions unplanned, is it better to focus marketing from the shelf backwards? In recent years, the concept of shopper marketing has surged in popularity. Of course, in-store marketing has always been important, but shopper marketing is much more than just packaging, display and promotions. It’s about everything brands can do to influence shopper behaviour, from initial interest to final purchase. In short, it’s about the whole journey, not just the final destination.

What’s driving interest in shopper marketing?

  • Media fragmentation – it gets harder for brands to stand out via traditional media, so many are now investing in the final “moment of truth”.
  • Economic climate – shoppers are looking for ways to save money, driving down brand and retailer loyalty. Never has it been more critical for brands to provide strong reasons to buy.
  • Own brand focus – retailers are investing heavily in their brands, so manufacturers need to find ways to work with them for mutual benefit.
  • A wealth of data – loyalty cards and EPOS data are opening up more opportunities for brands and retailers to analyse and predict shopper behaviour.

Principles of effective shopper marketing:

There are many tactical elements that make up effective shopper marketing strategies – some of which we’ll be looking at in future posts. Ultimately, though, it’s important to follow a few guiding principles for success in this field:

  1. Adopt a different mindset: Shoppers are very different to consumers. The mindset and motivation of someone out shopping is poles apart from someone watching, listening or reading ads at home.  Shopper marketing is about focusing on the in-store experience first, and using clever integrated marketing ideas to create touchpoints that seamlessly build to that final experience.
  2. Focus on positive interruption: Shopping can range from social excursions to task-driven outings.  Understanding different mentalities, group dynamics, dwell times and environmental factors for each is vital if brands are to connect in positive ways. Disrupting peoples’ “auto-pilot modes” only works if brands leave shoppers feeling glad they were interrupted.
  3. Understand and work with retailers: A crucial element of shopper marketing is working with key retailers to create mutually-beneficial shopping experiences.That requires a real understanding of each retailer’s openness to new ideas, their value and relevance to individual brands, and their wider objectives or strategies. Success is all about aligning your brand’s interests with the retailer’s category visions.
  4. Deliver on the brand promise at every touchpoint: Shopper marketing is all about aligning the online, off-line and in-store brand experience. Brands need to ensure their communications are integrated and consistent – before, during and after the store visit. The art of shopper marketing is building understanding, desire and expectation right along the shopper journey. But if the “moment of truth” purchase experience doesn’t fulfil those “promise” touchpoints, then it’s worthless.

Here at Because, we have years of experience working with brands and retailers on campaign-based in-store experiences and shopper marketing initiatives around the world.  Notably our retailer activations for Pampers, one of the world’s leading brands, which is still the UK’s most awarded shopper programmes  To find out how we could help you, contact Sharon Richey in London or Meredith Cranmer in Sydney.

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Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.