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The digital path
to purchase
Understanding shopper                 Evolution Insights compares and contrasts the
First let’s look at shopper         store. They are also less au fait
“While two shoppers may    profiling                ...
The circumstances of the trip      same time they use the shelves
“The circumstances of the     affect, for example, the  ...
different journeys and is          more important to be able to
“Retailers’, and              therefore somewhat less     ...
and promotions. This could be        that behaviour and how to
“There is a fine line to be     taken further to offer shop...
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Online grocery shopping: The digital path to purchase thought piece


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Online grocery shopping: The digital path to purchase thought piece

  1. 1. The digital path to purchase Understanding shopper Evolution Insights compares and contrasts the behaviour in online shoppers’ online and offline path to purchase. grocery “For many, the online The online food and grocery journey along the path to space is perceived as market continues to grow purchase and how they are rapidly presenting new influenced during that journey somewhat of an enigma opportunities for consumer can we hope to understand which remains on the goods companies to engage with any clarity how as periphery of traditional shoppers, increase sales and marketers we are able to target develop their category products and marketing shopper marketing strategies. But to date only a messages most effectively. activity”. minority of players have fully embraced the online channel. We believe that the underlying approach to developing an “Only by understanding For many, the online space is online strategy should be no the shopper’s journey perceived as somewhat of an different. Like in the physical enigma which remains on the world, we need to understand along the path to periphery of traditional the shopper’s profile, the array purchase and how they shopper marketing activity, of influences that affect the are influenced during that more an afterthought than an shopper’s mind-set and, of integrated component of a course, the marketing journey can we hope to holistic channel strategy. At initiatives which are available understand with any Evolution however we believe to help interrupt shoppers on clarity how as marketers firmly that online activity their journey. should sit at the heart of the we are able to target shopper strategy, following the …but shopper marketers products and marketing same fundamental principles would do well to understand messages most we have learned in-store while the marked differences acknowledging the marked effectively.” differences between the between the in-store and online world. physical and online worlds. What is greatly important and In-store and online shopper often underestimated, is just marketing strategies should how different the online and follow the same fundamental physical can be when it comes principles… to influences on shopper behaviour, both in terms of the We know from the store-based influences on the shopper’s world of grocery retailing that mindset and the shopper any successful shopper strategy marketer’s ability to engage is driven from the shopper’s people at the point of perspective. Only by purchase. understanding the shopper’s 1
  2. 2. First let’s look at shopper store. They are also less au fait “While two shoppers may profiling with technology. This well behave in similar shopper’s approach to online ways in-store, when Shopper profiling takes on new shopping mirrors closely the dimensions in the virtual world way they would shop a shopping online their physical store –picturing the and this can help explain clear mind-sets and differences in behaviour when store’s aisles in their head, consequential behaviours people shop online. shopping category by category. can contrast greatly.” Though often a blunt The younger – so called instrument, profiling is a useful generation Y or iPod means to start segmenting any generation – shopper has market. Clearly the socio- grown up with online demographic, lifestage and technology has few, if any, lifestyle characteristics are as physical or emotional relevant online as they are attachments with the in-store offline, but the virtual world shopping experience. This arguably requires further shopper is more inclined to use depth in analysis of these digital cues such as recipes, attributes as well as additional ideas, social media and dimensions for consideration. promotions to help them navigate the store. Access to high speed internet, modes of transport and the In this example we note that shoppers’ degree of while these two shoppers may technological know-how are well behave in similar ways in- good examples. These store, when shopping online additional factors at the most their mind-sets and basic level dictate whether or consequential behaviours not a shopper is able to use contrast greatly. the online channel at all. At a more subtle level they help us Now let’s look at how the understand some of the different circumstances differences in shopping between an online and behaviour we see between traditional shop can greatly online and in-store channels influence changes in such as changes in bulk buying behaviour. and impulsive behaviour. We know from our existing Let us consider an example research that shopper comparing an older and a behaviour is greatly influenced younger more technologically by the circumstances of the aware shopper, and how their shopping trip. In the physical behaviour may differ when world the circumstances of the shopping online. Take an older shopping trip may involve shopper first. This shopper’s leaving the house on a specific behaviour has been heavily mission or popping into a store conditioned by their vast on the way home from work. experience of shopping in- 2
  3. 3. The circumstances of the trip same time they use the shelves “The circumstances of the affect, for example, the and promotional displays – trip affect, for example, shopper’s mind-set, the route perhaps subconsciously – to they take round the store and help choose new products or the shopper’s mind-set, how much time they have on perhaps make the odd impulse the route they take round their hands to consider their purchase. The point to note the store and how much purchases. However, when here is that because they are shopping online the methodical and walk the whole time they have on their circumstances of the shopping store, they have high exposure hands to consider their trip are transformed almost to shopper marketing purchases.” entirely. This is because an initiatives throughout their online shop can take place journey. Now let’s imagine almost anywhere: at work, on how that same shopper may a laptop while watching behave when shopping online. “Fundamental differences television, or even in the Here the shopper takes their kitchen while looking through laptop into the kitchen and between the the fridge and cupboards. looks through the cupboards, circumstances of shopping adding items directly into their in-store or online have a We suggest these fundamental online store – rather in the same way as they would write profound influence on differences between the their list. They buy everything circumstances of shopping in- shopper behaviour.” that they need quickly and store or online have a profound influence on shopper effectively, but in this case behaviour. Indeed we would their exposure to shopper go as far as to say that the marketing initiatives is very “And it’s not just shopper limited. Impulse purchases are extent of difference between profiles and circumstances the circumstances could lost and as a result average basket size is probably smaller. that influence behaviour: actually result in the same shopper having a different the online store itself can modality depending on It’s not just shopper profiles also drive behaviour.” whether they are shopping on and circumstances that or off-line. This influences how influence behaviour: the they shop, what exposure they online store itself can also have to shopper marketing and drive behaviour how many unplanned purchases they make – While the shopper’s profile crucially it influences what and circumstances can clearly they buy. influence online shopping behaviour, so can the online Let’s look at how these store itself – sometimes with different circumstances can unpredictable or even negative affect behaviour using an results. example of a methodical and organised shopper. In the Unlike a physical store where physical world this shopper the shopper’s journey is typically makes a list before dictated by the store’s static visiting the supermarket. On layout, POS materials, off-shelf arrival they walk up and down displays and signage, the most of the aisles picking up online shopper can take many items from the list. But at the 3
  4. 4. different journeys and is more important to be able to “Retailers’, and therefore somewhat less interrupt shopper effectively consequently predictable. and efficiently once they are further into their journey. manufacturers’, ability to Essentially there is a need to When a shopper embarks on interrupt is currently poor maximise a shopper’s field of their online shopper journey and there is a requirement they are typically faced with a vision no matter whether they buy from a list or using cues to develop more effective number of choices. These may provided by the retailer’s include building a shopping list tools to interrupt the website. based on previous purchases, shopper’s journey as they using recipes for ideas, browse through products.” shopping by theme such as We believe that retailers’, and promotions or navigating consequently manufacturers’, through categories or ability to interrupt is currently departments. The choice poor and there is a made at this initial stage is requirement to develop more “Overall we perceive the likely to influence profoundly effective tools to interrupt the level of sophistication as purchase decisions from the shopper’s journey as they offset and help drive the browse through products. It is sitting someway behind in- remainder of the journey. during the journey itself – store marketing in during the decision making effectiveness but see great For example, if a shopper process – where opportunities for shopper marketing are best potential.” starts by visiting the targeted. promotions page, we would expect them to make a high proportion of impulse At present attempts to purchases and be more interrupt the shopper’s inclined to buy outside of their journey are restricted in the typical brand repertoire. main to promotional listings at Furthermore their subsequent the head of product pages and buying behaviour would clearly in a few cases the use of be influenced by what they banners. Asda does in some have already bought on cases recommend products promotion. In contrast, if a that you may like – a tool we shopper starts with a list based are surprised that is not more on previous purchases, this widely used. Overall we could have the effect of perceive the level of reducing their brand repertoire sophistication as sitting since they will not be exposed someway behind in-store to new or alternative products. marketing in effectiveness but Subsequent behaviour is likely see great potential. to involve filling gaps in the shopping list. Online grocers need to leverage their ability to know The challenge to interrupt what the shopper has already bought, both on the current Given these initial decisions and previous trips, that shoppers make, we recommending believe this makes it all the accompaniments 4
  5. 5. and promotions. This could be that behaviour and how to “There is a fine line to be taken further to offer shoppers overcome the technological drawn between subtle yet recipes or other ideas based on hurdles. what is placed in their basket. relevant recommendations Interruptions, such as As new technologies evolve, and intrusive marketing promotions, need to be more new opportunities will emerge. which could alienate overtly displayed as the It will be those manufacturers shopper adds items to their shoppers, however we basket, perhaps even using with a clear strategy, a deep understanding of their online believe there is still a fair carefully targeted pop-ups. shoppers, and how their distance to go before that We absolutely acknowledge proposition can serve those that there is a fine line to be line is reached.” drawn between subtle yet shoppers’ needs, that will be best place to capitalise. relevant recommendations and intrusive marketing which could alienate shoppers, however we believe there is Evolution Insights Ltd “For retailers and still a fair distance to go before manufacturers there is a that line is reached. About Evolution Insights Evolution Insights is a research led major challenge to consultancy specialising in shopper understand better how In summary marketing. We deliver original online shoppers behave, research, analysis and insight into shopper motivations and the influences on that That the online channel has behaviour for manufacturers, great potential is not in doubt drive that behaviour and for the majority, yet few retailers and agencies. how to overcome the understand how to exploit it For more information please visit technological hurdles.” fully. We suggest an shopper strategy cannot merely be an add-on to existing shopper E-mail: knowledge and initiatives but requires more careful consideration. Tel: 0113 389 1038 We highlight that traditional shopper profiling only goes some way to understand shopping behaviour online. We posit that behaviour online is affected greatly by the Evolution Insights Ltd is a private circumstances of the shop and limited company registered in the that the way that online stores UK with registered number are designed fundamentally 07006001. affects the way that shoppers move through their digital path Evolution Insights Ltd, Prospect to purchase. For retailers and House, 32 Sovereign Street, Leeds, manufacturers there is a major West Yorkshire, LS1 4BJ. challenge to understand better how online shoppers behave, © Evolution Insights Ltd. All rights the influences on that drive reserved. 5