Stop interrupting shoppers


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Ensure in-store engagement with shoppers really will increase sales

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Stop interrupting shoppers

  1. 1. Finding faster growth: new customersStop interrupting shoppers Share this Opinion Leader
  2. 2. Stop interrupting shoppersTo broaden product consideration and growsales, category managers and shopper marketersmust abandon disruption – and focus on helpingshoppers find what they are looking for. Share this Opinion Leader 2
  3. 3. Stop interrupting shoppersRetailers and manufacturers don’t draw up planograms purchased from a category – and 45 percent buyfor fun. And at the risk of sounding cynical, they don’t exactly the same product. In case you think this 69%usually draw them up just to make shoppers’ lives only applies to pre-planned purchases, 66 percenteasier. Their objective is, naturally enough, a more of confectionery shoppers in supermarkets (aboutself-interested one: most planograms aim to influence as impulsive as supermarket purchasing gets) haveshoppers’ decisions, affecting what they buy and already decided on the brand they will buy when they of supermarket shoppers buy the sameincreasing the amount that they spend. As such they enter the store. brand as they did last timeembody an assumption: that shoppers are actuallymaking decisions in-store, considering choices and Shoppers spend the vast majority of their time at 45%weighing up options. The problem is that for most the shelf searching for the product they know theyshoppers and most purchases, this assumption is very want – and when they are busy searching for specificwide of the mark. products they are not open to influence; in fact, they are effectively blind to anything not relevant of supermarket shoppers buy exactlyChoosing or searching? to the task in hand. An experiment by ‘Shopology’ the same productTNS has spent more than 20 years observing shopper proved just how difficult it is to distract shoppersbehaviour. And all of that observation points to one when they are in search mode. Researchers placed aoverriding conclusion: for the majority of shoppers, the pack of beer in the middle of a cereal shelf and then The price of disruptionpurchase process has little to do with decision-making; videoed shoppers’ reactions to it. You’d think this was The approach that most category managers andit has everything to do with finding something that attention-grabbing and disruptive; in fact, hardly any shopper marketers take to this challenge is tothe shopper has already decided to buy. Purchasing shoppers even noticed the beer. The fact is that when interrupt the search and attempt to jump-startdata show that 69 percent of supermarket shoppers shoppers are in search mode, they don’t see what a consideration process, inviting the shopper tobuy the same brand as they did last time they they are not looking for. connect with the category. From a superficial look at Share this Opinion Leader 3
  4. 4. Stop interrupting shoppersshopper behaviour, you’d think this approach works:we see people pausing in front of a category, wewatch them scanning the shelf and we assume thatthey are weighing up different options and thinking Work with the shopper’sthrough their purchases. But appearances can bedangerously deceptive. When you look a little deeperbelow the surface, you quickly see that the disruptive agenda rather than tryingmerchandising strategy isn’t really leading to moreopen-minded shopping; instead it’s creating morefrustrating searching – and that is hugely counter- to change it.productive for all concerned. positive emotion on the four occasions when he or handed. Our disruptive approach hasn’t opened theseWe like to think of shopping as a positive experience, she sees a relevant product. shopper’s minds to other purchases – it’s stoppedcentred on finding solutions to satisfy wants and them buying anything at all. Even more frustratingly,needs. Searching, on the other hand is essentially All of this happens very rapidly, and barely consciously, 20 percent of the items shoppers have specificallynegative: shoppers spend their time de-selecting but that degree of negative feeling does affect the planned to buy don’t make it into the basket.large numbers of products so that they can focus shopping experience. The longer a shopper spendson the ones that they are actually interested in. looking for a product within a category, the greater Working with the search agendaEye-tracking may show that a shopper rapidly scans the likelihood of them giving up and walking away The way to opening the minds of shoppers isn’t to100 items within a category but if we overlay EEG from the shelf without putting anything in their interrupt or extend their search; it’s to help themresults, we can see that 96 of them are rejected. basket. In fact, on average, 30 percent of grocery complete it; to work with the shopper’s agenda ratherAnd rejection isn’t fun. Our shopper only experiences shoppers who browse a shelf walk away empty- than trying to change it. At first glance this seems Share this Opinion Leader 4
  5. 5. Stop interrupting shopperssomewhat counter-productive: if shoppers find theitem they were looking for quickly won’t they justwalk away from the category without considering When a shopper finds their first item within 10anything else? In fact, TNS’s research shows theopposite: shoppers that find their first item quickly seconds, the average number of items going intoare more likely to buy additional items from the same their basket jumps markedly.category. When a shopper finds their first item within10 seconds, the average number of items going intotheir basket jumps markedly. 4.48The fact is that within most categories, ‘decided’shoppers have the potential to become ‘open’ 3.06shoppers, but only once the initial search process Number 2.91 2.78 2.57has been completed quickly and without frustration. of items 2.29Let’s take the example of a woman shopping for purchasedshampoo. Her everyday family shampoo is her priorityand something she buys time and time again. Herchoice has been decided long before she enteredthe store. The faster she can locate it, the more time 0-10 11-20 21-30 31-60 60-120 120+she will spend considering the benefits of other Time taken to select first product (seconds)shampoos in front of her; she may well end up tryinga new product or putting more than one option into Share this Opinion Leader 5
  6. 6. Stop interrupting shoppersher basket. If, on the other hand, she spends over to increase sales. The simple fact is that merchandising options. In order to do this efficiently, they need aa minute looking for her family shampoo, then she has to cater to decided shoppers first and foremost. clear structure where the shelf hierarchy is basedwill probably walk away as soon as she has it in her on product features and reflects the order of thebasket. And if the initial search takes too long, she The science of de-selection shopper’s search. Research has a vital role to play inmight well walk away thinking they can all make do When searching, the decided shopper interacts helping to identify the product features that decidedwith body wash this week. with the shelf at a category rather than a product shoppers prioritise in their search, so we can make level: they scan many products with very rapid eye them easier to find. By organising the core structureWhen we know that most purchases are decided in movements looking for visual cues to help them in this way, decided shoppers are able to rule outadvance, we have a clear goal for organising categories makes sense of the shelf and narrow their search large numbers of products quickly and move rapidly from search to selection, increasing the likelihood of them considering alternative, or additional, purchases. When P&G took the bold step of re-organising the skincare category shelves to make them easier for ? shoppers, the impact on both behaviour and spend was dramatic. Over the next six months, shoppers ? ? spent noticeably less time standing in front of the shelf scanning products; instead they identified the products they were interested in from a distance and went straight to that point in the shelf. Significantly though, the amount of time they spent in the Share this Opinion Leader 6
  7. 7. Stop interrupting shopperscategory didn’t reduce at all. Instead, the extra needs, comparing them and eventually choosing thetime saved in not searching for products was spent one that balances their requirements most effectively.considering purchases – and considering more of Grouping products that meet similar selection needs,them than before. During the six month period, and enabling shoppers to compare propositions easily, ?category sales increased by a staggering 31 percent. doesn’t undermine a core shelf hierarchy built around product features; in fact, it supports and strengthens it.Catering to ‘decided’ and ‘open’ shoppersOf course, merchandising cannot afford to put barriersin front of shoppers who haven’t made a decision Let’s take the example of a mother shopping for breakfast cereal. Her two school-age sons simply want ?– and this means that it needs to cater for open cereal that tastes good. She wants something they willshoppers’ selection needs as well. On the face of it happily eat, but would ideally like a product that offersthis seems a dilemma, since we’ve already established some nutrition as well. She hasn’t made her mind upthat increasing sales depends on building the shelf about which children’s cereal she wants, but she hashierarchy around decided shoppers. We only have a good idea of the particular consumption needs sheone shelf to work with, so how can we cater for open is looking to satisfy. If she is able to identify a groupshoppers at the same time? of nutritious kids cereals and start comparing flavours to find something that her sons may like, then she willThe open shopper’s selection isn’t completely open; it be well on the way to making a decision based on selection needs that have been established And provided the group of kids’ cereals fits within aat some point before entering the store. His or her clear shelf structure, this arrangement won’t delay herselection process will come down to understanding finding her own favourite cereal that she buys everydifferent product propositions for meeting these time she visits. Share this Opinion Leader 7
  8. 8. Stop interrupting shoppersThe role of packaging communication Principles for category planning growth when it has a clear objective of its own – andSimilar principles and a similar hierarchy of priorities Applying consistent principles based around actual the evidence of actual shopper behaviour makes itapply to manufacturers looking to increase share of shopper behaviour isn’t the same as suggesting clear what this objective should be. If manufacturersspend within a category. Once again, it is essential a one-size-fits-all solution for category planning. and retailers want to increase consideration and spendto prioritise rapid visual communication with the Merchandising will always remain a complex art, in they must organise categories to reduce search timevast majority of shoppers who are decided as to the which many different elements are brought together and ensure that decided shoppers find what they areproduct features they want – and are engaged in to meet a range of conscious and sub-conscious looking for as quickly as possible. In doing so, they willrapid, sub-conscious searching. Key product features shopper needs. An understanding of the precise be putting shoppers in control of the time they spendthat are relevant to such a search must be prioritised in priorities of decided and open shoppers in each in store – inviting them to spend less of that timethe package design and communicated where possible category is essential for planning shelf hierarchies and searching and more of that time shopping. It’s a leapthrough colour and visual cues, since the product product groupings effectively. However, that planning of faith, but one that is long overdue.only has a split second to establish its relevance. More process can be rendered far more effective at drivingspecific product benefits that may persuade an openshopper to pick that product over another can becommunicated through text, since they have a longerwindow of opportunity to engage with these shoppers Precise priorities of decided and open shoppersduring their consideration process. The pink colour ofa packet of prawn cocktail flavoured crisps is a great in each category is essential for planning shelfexample of the first form of communication; clear copystressing reduced fat or increased flavour is a great hierarchies and product groupings.example of the second. Share this Opinion Leader 8
  9. 9. About Opinion LeadersOpinion Leaders is part of a regular series of articles from TNS consultants, based on their expertise gatheredthrough working on client assignments in over 80 markets globally, with additional insights gained throughTNS proprietary studies such as Digital Life, Mobile Life and the Commitment Economy.About TNS About the author Pat McCann is Global Director for TNS Retail &TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and Shopper, responsible for developing best practicestakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence shopper solutions and enhancing shopper insightin over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands delivery.individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. She started her career at Nielsen and then workedTNS is part of Kantar, one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy groups. clientside at Avon and Allied Lyons before joining TNS.Please visit for more information. With over 20 years experience as a buyer and supplier of shopper and consumer research, Pat wasGet in touch instrumental in establishing this global practice areaIf you would like to talk to us about anything you have read in this report, please get in touch via and in acquiring shopper specialists, Sorensen and or via Twitter @tns_global Magasin. Share this Opinion Leader 9