Why do we need to define the shopper?
We often speak of ‘the shopper’ in travel retail: how best to attract them to our brands, motivate their behaviour and make that all-important purchase in our stores.
February 2016 | Alison Hughes, Research Director
After all, providing our shoppers with a unique, omni-channel experience will continue to influence our decisions today and shape the travel retail of tomorrow.
Yet what do we really mean by ‘the shopper’ – and how can defining the term we use so frequently help our industry?
The shopper and the consumer
These labels are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two completely different states-of-mind and, at times, different target audiences.
We need to start with the consumer in order to build an understanding of the shopper. Consumers use products, need products and aspire to have products, so therefore are open to traditional advertising and marketing campaigns*. They seek experiences and are driven by the end goal; for example, the sense of satisfaction that they'll feel from drinking the beer on a Friday evening after work.
As such, the consumer helps us to focus the search for our target audience and to grow brands in the marketplace. By understanding their consumption behaviour right now, we can outline what we are hoping they will do in the future and what needs to change for us to enable this**.
If a communications campaign is able to satisfy unmet consumer needs, then it is more likely to appeal to the shopper. This is because the shopper is actively looking for products to buy – be it for themselves, or another consumer; for instance, the shopper might be a mother buying perfume for her daughter – the consumer – as a gift. This may reveal a large group of shoppers ready and willing to spend, but they can be the trickiest to convince if they are not particularly interested in the brand they are prepared to buy from*. To resonate with their audiences, brands and retailers in travel retail need to target this ‘shopper mode’.
The shopper and the marketing campaign
Before the traveller has even begun their journey, they are consuming advertising for different products and brands that they will then go on to find in the travel retail store.
Be it online or offline, the language used in these campaigns usually encapsulate an emotion to tell a story: Nike’s Just do it embodies a state-of-mind; McDonald’s I’m lovin’ it promises happiness to its target audience and L'Oréal’s Because you’re worth it is to make women feel beautiful.
These slogans are consumer-focused as they are communicating an aspirational feeling or mindset to the end user. Whilst these campaigns continue to prove effective and even timeless, the communication used will not necessarily appeal to the shopper at the point of purchase.
Targeting the shopper can unlock additional consumption of a brand**; this is if the campaign is correctly tailored to their needs, yet also remains aligned to the main brand messages. Indeed, shopper marketing complements the ‘passive’ awareness role of consumer marketing by focusing on the ‘active’ purchase process of the shopper.
The shopper and the path to purchase
As 50-70% of purchase decisions are made at the shelf***, it’s vital to instantly relate to the shopper when in-store.
Translating a strong shopper marketing campaign across priority touchpoints is central to creating this connection****. This includes identifying impulse and planned purchase categories to ensure that the right brand is in the right place and at the right time. Similarly, secondary branding placements in high footfall areas – such as the store entrance, at the check out and in other categories – are ideal for introducing shoppers to different brands and recruiting new consumers.
As with the consumer approach, the shopper will interact with and behave differently across the categories depending on their needs and motivations at the time. For this reason, it’s not only important to connect with the shopper on a demographic and functional level, but also in a way that reflects lifestyle and emotional inclinations*.
We should create a strong link between the brands in travel retail, their potential usage occasion and then align this with the evolving shopper mindset as they make their way through the store. For example, the shopper might have a list of presents to buy in perfumes and cosmetics, but crave a self-treat for the journey home in confectionery. This denotes two different shopping styles by the same shopper, two different category layouts and two different sets of shopper messages.
From the store layout to the on-shelf communication, both the brands and the retailers will benefit if the in-store experience is defined by ‘the shopper’.
If unspecified: CiR database.
Image credit: shutterstock.com