Most of us are familiar with offers from our electronic store selling a pc together with a printer, speakers and other accessories. Also kitchens often come fully equipped with microwave, oven, fridge, mixer, etc. However, the products are manufactured hardly by one single company but instead are bundled by the retailer to offer its clients a more appealing and complete product. This is the very essence of Shopper Solutions.
A shopper solution is an insight-driven product offering consisting of at least two products. They deliver value to shoppers by providing a solution in one single location to one or more of the following problems:
Seasonal: Flu season, back to school
Money: Save shopper money
Lifestyle: Dieting, healthy nutrition
Convenience / time: Buy at one display
As for our electronic store example, products might be from one single or more manufacturers.
Shopper solutions are distinct from traditional marketing as they convey an emotional motivation as well as a functional call to action, this way combining brand management with trade marketing. According to Booz & Company analysis, “shopper solutions that tested best provided both inspiration and information to shoppers, while clearly communicating a reason to take action.”¹
Nevertheless, shopper solutions are more than merely displays promoting products at the POS. Excellent shopper solutions accompany shoppers along the entire path to purchase incorporating digital marketing vehicles as a supportive platform. According to a recent industry report, roughly three-quarters of shoppers engage in product research before purchasing a product.²
Incorporating digital media into shopper solutions enables both retailers and manufacturers to:
- Engage with shoppers early on in the path to purchase
- Educate them on the various uses of a product
- Connect to KOLs (bloggers, etc.) creating awareness among targeted shoppers
- Provide instant purchase solutions to shoppers contributing to more convenience
- Analyze data on shoppers’ online activity to improve campaigns
Take for example German home center Hornbach:
Products and services are divided into different projects (shopper solutions). To engage shoppers, Hornbach provides online do-it-yourself videos, information on tools and materials, and forums giving advice on common problems. Moreover, the online shop offers an instant purchase option making the shopping experience even more convenient.
But why should CPG manufacturers or retailers engage in the complex and difficult process of creating a shopper solution?
Shopper solutions offer various advantages over traditional marketing communications and in-store activations. Excellent shopper solutions provide benefits for shoppers, retailers, and participating manufacturers.
They contribute to improving all 4 dimensions along which Shopper Marketing is measured:
- Transactional data (i.e. sales)
- Shopper behavior (i.e. engagement)
- Attitudes & beliefs (i.e. awareness)
- Relationship to retailer (i.e. more facings)
By clicking on the picture above, you will get an overview of some of shopper solutions´ benefits.
With respect to execution, shopper solutions must be highly customizable to be able to adjust to the specific store layouts. Moreover, they require a profound understanding of retailers´ needs to create solutions which contribute to their strategic goals (strategic fit).
Nevertheless, retailers might be reluctant to incorporate shopper solutions into their calendar. First, results of shopper solution campaigns might be difficult to measure and hence, to communicate upwards. Second, resources (i.e. space, time, etc.) are limited and trade-offs must be made. Retailers increasingly gear towards clean polices by avoiding any unnecessary visual pollution of their store. Third, shopper solutions are highly complex requiring the collaboration of various partners. To avoid problems during the execution, retailers might prefer to avoid shopper solutions.
Summarizing the insights gained, there are six dimensions determining the success of a shopper solution:
- Solves a problem (activity / occasion, seasonal, money, lifestyle, convenience / time)
- Provides an emotional motivation and a functional call to action
- Is relevant to both shoppers and retailer(s)
- Combines marketing vehicles online and offline
- Accompanies shoppers along the entire path to purchase
- Is customizable to retailer´s specific needs / store layout
If you want to know how to best measure shopper marketing, please visit our dedicated introductory chapter.
In Chapter V, we take a closer look at shoppers´ path to purchase.
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