Shopper Marketing: The Vital Ingredient In The CPG Marketing Mix
Gone are those simple days when customers’ path to purchase used to be blandly linear. Now, the journey is taken through such a sinuous road that even the canniest consumer packaged goods manufacturer might occasionally feel bouts of vertigo. The ongoing technological turbulences such as unimaginable penetration of social media, soaring popularity of smart and intuitive mobile devices, and exponential growth in web-based commerce has elevated the customers to an omnipotent existence in the marketing ecosystem.
Before owning the item of their choice, today’s internet-wandering, omnichannel-loving, quick-witted, and thrifty shoppers explore products more than ever. If data from Google Shopper Sciences and Forrester Consulting are to be believed, the regular shopper seeks advice from 10.4 sources before honoring the urge for the desired product. Brands and assortments do not have anything to do with their purchase decision; their impulse for buying is driven by specific needs and solutions. This turnabout in customer behavior has radiated as a bit of an enigma for marketers. To make matters worse for CPG makers, there is a lingering specter of economic doldrums. On the part of CPG manufacturers, handling all these challenges will require fine-grained knowledge of customers.
Shopper marketing, a concept that is still in a nascent stage, can be an open sesame to understand and activate shoppers.
To put it in a straightforward way, shopper marketing is tracking shopper attitudes throughout the entire path to purchase in all channels possible and then assimilate the insights acquired during the process to germinate marketing strategies that can create or enhance brand equity and entice the customer to conclude a purchase, thereby benefitting both manufacturers and retailers. The kernel of shopper marketing is producing scalable outcomes by engaging shoppers in various immersive ways. It completely discards the traditional notion of cursory interactions with customers.
Shopper marketing actively follows shoppers, right from the “zero moment of truth” to the “first moment of truth”.
A recent study points out that three out of five CPG enterprises have gainfully employed it. Some of the forms of shopper marketing include shelf advertising, in-store sampling, packaging, interactive kiosks, personalized emails, social media gaming, location-aware deals, personalized SMS, newsletters, bar code or QR code scanning apps, product reviews, price comparison apps, augmented reality, dedicated microsites, mobile and tablet search, coupons for using at the checkout, and the list goes on. CPG companies are swearing by shopper marketing as a great promotional initiative to catapult sales to a higher level, but before its adoption certain points must be pondered over. It should be noted without any ambiguity that conventional sales pitch does not segregate shoppers from consumers. Shopper marketing does and solely focuses on shoppers’ shopping mode.
Shopper marketing mandates efficient collaboration between CPG manufacturer and retailers.
For better customer engagement, collaboration between manufacturers and retailers in the CPG supply chain is a sine qua non. Shopper marketing can be significantly heightened with the help of collaboration. It’s only when the big data and analytics are shared seamlessly between the retailer and the manufacturers can effective marketing and product strategies be devised according to the movement of the shopper in the decision making path. As shopper marketing provides a lot of brilliant insights; innovations that match customers’ aspirations should be done incessantly.
Real-time analytics is the key element for real-time marketing.
The one thing that shopper marketing requires is being on-the-toes. Marketers need to know what shoppers are doing in real-time and activate deals and promotions that can have the maximum impact if the moment is right. As the shopper moves through the decision making journey, the marketers must move along with them. This requires an evolved and integrated analytics environment that aids direct to customer marketing.