Shopper Marketing Definition: The Basics
If you’ve been paying attention to the latest food and beverage marketing trends, you’ve probably heard the term “shopper marketing.”
But what exactly does it mean to practice shopper marketing?
What is the definition of shopper marketing?
Unfortunately, shopper marketing has become a somewhat vague term – at least the way it’s used in mainstream channels. But in this guide, we will present you with a clear, easy-to-understand definition of shopper marketing – and tips on how to get started with your shopper marketing strategy.
Shopper Marketing Definition
Wikipedia defines shopper marketing as follows: “[shopper marketing is] a discipline that focuses on the customer experience and the customer journey. It focuses on the consumer’s path to purchasing a product, from first being aware of the product to consideration and through to the purchase of it. It separates itself from retail marketing, focusing on engaging the customer in-store only.”
This definition is mostly on point, but there are some essential things to add.
For starters, shopper marketing is entirely focused on the shopper: the individual consumer purchasing your food and beverage products. Therefore, finding success in shopper marketing typically originates with identifying your customer and better understanding how they think and make purchasing decisions.
You cannot practice shopper marketing with a generic, universal messaging strategy; you can only practice shopper marketing with detailed levels of specific audience targeting. Therefore, all your messages need to be perfectly crafted to reach the people who matter most to your brand.
It’s also important to recognize that shopper marketing relies on the coordination of multiple different marketing channels, giving you the chance to reach more people in more ways.
You can practice shopper marketing with any or all of the following (and more):
- Product packaging. Your product packaging says a lot about your product, immediately forming first impressions in your target shoppers and potentially shaping their opinion about your brand for years to come. Therefore, subtle changes to the shape of your packaging or the colors presented on the outside could result in a significant difference in purchasing behavior.
- Coupon dispenser. In-store coupon dispensers can easily capture your product’s attention and incentivize purchases simultaneously.
- Samples and demos. In certain retail locations, you can offer your food or beverage product as a free sample, or demonstrate how it is meant to be used. These live demonstrations capture active shoppers’ attention and allow them to try your product before buying.
- Floor ads. Conventional floor ads have been used for decades to get more eyes on your branding. They’re still useful but even more powerful when used under the shopper marketing umbrella.
- End cap displays. Store shoppers almost always look at end cap displays. When appropriately positioned, you can use an end cap display to get more eyes on your products and incentivize more purchases.
- Digital coupons. Before your customers ever set foot in a store, they should be able to find your digital coupons. These coupons can introduce new people to your brand and send them to the store to pick up some of your best products.
- Printed ads and coupons. Coupons aren’t exclusively digital; you can still use printed ads and coupons to bring attention to certain types of consumers.
- Cart/basket advertising. Getting your product featured in cart or basket advertising could be exactly what you need to get people thinking about your product when they’re most likely to buy it.
- Geotargeted ads. Almost all shopper marketing tactics require some degree of consumer targeting. In addition to targeting the right demographics, it pays to target people in the correct location.
- Digital advertising. Digital advertising is possible on dozens of different platforms and with nearly infinite potential approaches. As long as you’re targeting the right people with the right messages, you can make an impact and drive conversions.
- Email marketing. Email marketing remains a favorite strategy among shopper marketers because of its inexpensiveness and easy accessibility.
- Recipe creation and distribution. Your food and beverage product might be delicious, but how are people supposed to use it? Creating and distributing recipes is a creative way to raise awareness of your product and foster more consumer purchases.
- Retail shopper programs. Investing in retail shopper programs is another way to increase visibility and get more people to try your product.
- Social media marketing. Posting on social media is free, and advertising on social media is inexpensive. This makes it an excellent addition to your digital shopper marketing arsenal.
Why Is Shopper Marketing Valuable?
Now that we understand what shopper marketing is, what is it that makes shopper marketing valuable?
Why should you use a shopper marketing approach?
- Customer understanding and targeting. First, shopper marketing is built on a foundational principle of customer understanding and appropriate targeting. Regardless of what channels and strategies you plan to use under your shopper marketing umbrella, you need to understand who you’re trying to reach and how they think and make decisions. Because of this, all shopper marketing tactics are instantly more effective since they’re perfectly attuned to the people engaging with them.
- Omnichannel approaches. You can use shopper marketing across a wide variety of different marketing and advertising platforms. From initially introducing people to your brand on social media to hitting them with persuasive endcap displays, you can increase your brand’s visibility and reach more people. In your omnichannel approach, you will quickly learn which channels are most and least effective for your brand, and you can optimize your campaigns from there.
- Full-journey engagement. Customers are much more likely to buy your product and buy it consistently if you engage with them throughout the customer journey. From initially becoming aware that your product exists to purchasing it for the 100th time, you need to be able to inform, support and guide your customers’ behaviors.
- Cost efficiency. When appropriately utilized, shopper marketing is highly cost-efficient. Because all your messages are ideally suited to your target audience, you’ll see higher engagement rates and higher conversion rates. Because you’ll selectively choose the most appropriate and powerful channels for your brand, you’ll be minimizing costs and increasing results. And if you continue optimizing your campaign consistently, your cost efficiency will only increase.
- Opportunities for improvement. Shopper marketing also provides you with ample opportunities for improvement. As long as you’re consistently measuring and analyzing your results, you’ll learn new ways to tweak your messaging, optimize your channel distribution, and reach more customers.
How to Get More Value From Shopper Marketing
What if you already have a shopper marketing strategy in place? How do you get more value from it?
- Work with an agency. A shopper marketing agency will provide you with professional insights and robust support throughout the shopper marketing process. They can help you better analyze and understand your target customers, design an initial campaign, measure and analyze your results, and gradually improve.
- Segment your audiences. If you like most food and beverage brands, you don’t have just one target audience; there are many potential audience segments that you could reach. It’s important to be able to segment these audiences and reach them individually to maximize your results.
- Personalize your messaging. Whenever possible, personalize your messaging, so it’s as relevant as possible for the person reading it. For example, creating messages for a specific demographic is powerful, but it’s even more powerful to create messages for specific individuals whenever possible.
- Rely on automation. Marketing automation isn’t always a strictly good thing, but it can significantly improve your campaign results when used properly. In addition, automating certain aspects of your marketing campaigns means saving time and money while improving consistency. So take advantage of it when you can.
- Competitively differentiate your brand. Many brands, including some brands very similar to yours, are already practicing shopper marketing. To stand out and make your marketing more effective, you need to find ways to differentiate yourself competitively. For example, how can you position your brand in a novel way? Can you reach your target audience with a creative new messaging technique?
- Practice ongoing experimentation. Don’t remain complacent. It is valuable to practice ongoing experimentation with new marketing strategies and new messaging angles. Be bold, measure your results, and figure out what works and what doesn’t. This is especially important over the long term; with each experiment, you’ll learn more about your target market, favorite platforms, and your competition.
Learning More About Shopper Marketing Definition of Success
Are you interested in learning more about shopper marketing? Do you want to design a shopper marketing strategy of your own? Then you need our latest eBook, Own the Cart, which provides you with all the information you need to know about shopper marketing. Get it for free today!