The Stages of the Shopper Journey
During a recent meeting with a new client, I asked a very simple question. “Why would someone buy your product?” The uncomfortable chuckle that followed revealed the typical response we get when we ask this question, “because it’s the best XYZ on the market.” The conversation continued with, “Okay, but do customers know that? And if they don’t how do you get them to know your product is better“? “Duh, that’s why we are hiring a marketing firm”. Touché. However, this tells me they hadn’t thought about the shopper journey yet in their shopper marketing strategy.
But, when a grocery shopper heads to the store, a whopping majority already has in mind what they need to buy. The shopper journey starts long before they reach the shelf where your product is sitting. It’s important to understand the shopper journey in order to align marketing budgets, prioritize the spending and, ultimately, craft the right message to consumers at the right time.
The shopper journey typically starts with a need (i.e. “Mom, are we out of Oreos?”). The shopper could also be influenced by a multitude of factors such as sales, advertising, social media, etc. Keep in mind, a need isn’t always that the consumer is out of a product they typically buy. The need may be seasonal, especially around holidays. The rumors of a canned pumpkin shortage come to mind. However, brands can proactively create the need with marketing and that’s where the stages of the shopper journey come in.
There are 5 stages in a shopper journey:
- The moment a consumer becomes aware of a brand or a new product—the very basic start of the journey.
- After a consumer knows a need that they have (ie. we’re out of snacks) the shopper actively considers the options.
- This is when the actual purchase happens, but it is broken into 2 stages: Point of Purchase and Point of Sale, but for marketers to get a deeper understanding of the customer, we focus on the point of purchase—or basically when a consumer decides whether or not they will buy a product.
- It would be foolish to believe that after a consumer has purchased your product that the journey is over. Not so. This is when the shopper tastes and/or uses the product.
- The last stage in the journey is after the shopper has purchased and used a product, they share their experience (good or bad).
And those are the 5 stages of the Shopper Journey. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll cover the stages more in-depth and identify tactics in the shopper marketing toolbox. Plus, we’ll see where they fit into the stages of shopper marketing.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about shopper marketing for your food brand, please reach out to the NewPoint team. If you are interested in more food brand marketing topics, please visit our Food for Thought page or check out NewPoint’s Patrick Nycz’s book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.