Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Shoppers Make More Purchase Decisions In-Store: New Study

With a prolonged recession, high unemployment, and a persistently challenging economy, most  U.S. grocery shoppers are looking to save money where they can. Trimming back the weekly food bill is a place to start. So when does a consumer decide to buy certain products? Is it when making a shopping list at home, when perusing the store circular online, when cutting out the Sunday newspaper FSIs, or in the store? 

Three of four shoppers – 76% to be exact – are making that decision in-store, says a new study. 

Today’s shopper is making more decisions in-store than ever before. They are more empowered than ever before to make educated and responsible buying decisions. Surprisingly, more shoppers are using in-store marketing and branding cues to make an overwhelming portion of their purchase decisions. Today’s in-store decision rate has reached an all time high of 76%. To determine the in-store decision rate, purchases are broken down into four categories: Specifically Planned, Generally Planned, Substitutes, and Unplanned. The in-store decision rate is calculated by taking the sum of the purchases that fall under Generally Planned, Unplanned, and Substitutes categories.

The in-store decision rate is one of the most reliable measures because it is based upon pre- and post-shopping interviews; that is, what a shopper anticipated to purchase versus what they actually purchased. Given the uptick in this key metric, it is clear that retailers and brands who fail to provide the in-store marketing and education the shopper seeks out risk pushing shoppers into the arms of retailers and brands who are embracing in-store marketing. 

If you’re not putting your brand on ‘display,’ you’re less likely to put your brand in the shopper’s basket. Today’s shopper has more product choices than ever before – from organic labels to premium labels to private labels. If manufacturers are not using in-store marketing to put their products on display, they’re likely losing out in the battle to get those products into the shopping basket. The study found that nearly 1 in 6 brand purchases are made when a display with that brand is present in store. The product categories in supermarkets with the highest brand lift were toaster pastries, pickles/relish, dishwashing soap, and pet supplies.  

Overall, a clear pattern emerged suggesting that displays in general are best targeted to a core group of loyal, female 
stock-up shoppers, even when she shows elements of high degree of pre-store planning in the form of list making and circular use. 

Retailers are not fully maximizing the multitude of opportunities that exist to enhance the in-store experience.Today’s shopper spends less time – but significantly more dollars – during the shopping trip. Whether it’s using easy-to-find product displays in secondary locations or working with brand marketers to develop customized in-store display materials to reflect the unique retail environments, retailers have plenty of opportunity to turn their in-store marketing up a notch. It is worth noting that in 1995, nearly half (47%) of displays were placed in secondary locations. By 2012, this number has risen to 60% as retailers have embraced the notion of cross promoting items and locating displays away from the home aisle.

Compelling creative not only sets apart in-store marketing, but it can turn the subconscious shopper into a conscious buyer. Today’s shopper can choose from a huge number of SKUs on the shelf. While most are unaware at the number of cues and visual information they are processing on a subconscious level, one thing is certain: When presented with a compelling and visual display, they become engaged and conscious to the value proposition being offered. When asked if they recall seeing any in-store displays, nearly six of ten shoppers (56%) remember seeing in-store displays. Endcap and free-standing displays were cited most frequently. 

The study found that a notable number of eye fixations (13%) were made on in-store displays. While this number may sound low in the field of eye-tracking and neuroscience, it is quite high. Moreover, 66% of all observed “grabs” resulted in a purchase, which underscores the importance of capturing the shoppers’ attention and getting them engaged with the product.  

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