Just last week I was sitting across from a client who was talking me through the astounding percentage of shoppers who were leaving the aisle where his products were stocked in store without purchasing anything. Unfortunately for brand owners, this is not an uncommon story. It happens across multiple categories and across multiple channels. Shopping has become a very confusing, labour intensive exercise. Add to that the increasing number of options we have available to us for any given product, that we are all increasingly time poor, and if you’re like me, also have a toddler in tow on any shopping experience – is it any wonder that shoppers are feeling overwhelmed? Leaving stores without purchasing what they went in for and wondering if on-line shopping is a better alternative?

 According to the 2016 ‘Roy Morgan State of the Nation Report’, 26% of consumers stated that they would ‘consider doing some of my grocery shopping on the Internet in the next 12 months’. But then only 3% of grocery buyers followed through and actually did their supermarket shopping online in any given four-week period. The rest continued to shop in-store.

The ‘State of the Nation Report’ goes on to state that “Australian’s made a combined 1.43 billion trips to department stores, discount stores, hardware, homewares, clothing and music stores and newsagents over the last financial year. Although this figure is down around 100 million compared to five years ago, this figure has increased over the past twelve months – up 90 million.”

So, what exactly does all this mean for brands? Well, you could say it’s a massive opportunity to communicate to Australia’s 14 million shoppers who are frequenting retail stores an average of 2.5 times a week each. And confidence that the retail environment in Australia is still thriving and providing a great canvas to communicate our brands. But what are we doing wrong? Why are consumers confused and struggling to find our brands on-shelf? Have you reviewed your shopper marketing strategy recently?

As challenger brand specialists, we stand against complacency and continually challenge the status quo. Here are some tips on how best to ensure success for your next shopper campaign:

Be clear about why your brand is relevant for shoppers

Then communicate this. A clear, single minded campaign will help to guide the shopper rather than continue to confuse them. Know the ownable assets and equities of your brand that help it stand out from the crowd and influence shopper choices, and exploit them instore.

Appeal to all stakeholders

Remember it’s not just the shopper that you need to appeal to with a shopper marketing campaign. The retailer will often influence the success of your shopper campaign so aim to collaborate with the retailer from the outset to best tailor your campaign to their store. And don’t forget your brand… stay true to it in all communications.

Set and share sales and shopper behaviour objectives

Be sure to set your brand sales and shopper behaviour targets up front. As well as sales targets, you may want to measure behaviour changes and other measures like penetration and average weight of purchase. Visibility may also be an objective if this is a key commercial issue. Remember that the objectives may also change by channel.

Consider the whole path to purchase

Right at the shelf is only one part of the story and is most successful if you’ve told a story that builds through the full path to purchase journey. The path to purchase often begins before the shopper enters the physical retail store. With many shopper campaigns utilising proximity media to start communicating their brand story. Make sure you understand your objectives for each of the touch points throughout the whole path to purchase to ensure each touch point is doing its job.

Deliver successful creative

Interrupt the consumer with an emotionally engaging shopper campaign underpinned with a rational message for reassurance. Be clear on your communication objectives and hierarchy – you’ll need the right message, on the right piece at the right time.

Consider permanent, semi-permanent and temporary executions

Everything in-store from generic category signage to permanent shelf fixtures is up for grabs when considering what touch points to use to create your in-store campaign. Consider the role that shelf ready trays can play – and don’t forget the packaging! It’s all part of the same story.

 Add Value

Sometimes shoppers just need to feel like they’re getting a bit more to convert their attention. You may consider a special price, a gift with purchase, a consumer promotion or loyalty rewards to gain attention over other brands.

A successful shopper marketing campaign can change purchase decisions and positively affect purchase behaviour. By implementing the tips above and constantly evaluating our shopper marketing campaigns to ensure our brand and its messages remain relevant, we are one step closer to winning our shoppers’ hearts, minds and wallets.